Report - - Hunting Jiggers: Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouses revisited (Liverpool, Aug/Dec, 2018) | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Hunting Jiggers: Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouses revisited (Liverpool, Aug/Dec, 2018)


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Brief history: Stanley Dock was built by Jesse Hartley in 1848, with the north and south warehouses completed by 1856.
This was one of the first ‘mutimodal’ warehouse complexes designed to be accessible by rail, road, canal and sea.
It was equipped from the outset with hydraulic cargo handling equipment, with the power provided by two hydraulic stations, one on the north side, one on the south.
Hydraulic power was the Victorian equivalent of electricity or action at a distance, persisting in industrial areas well into the mid 1900’s before being superseded by electricity.
In 1901 part of the water area of the dock was filled in and the much larger tobacco warehouse added (Lyster/Berrington), also with hydraulic equipment.
The southern hydraulic station was demolished to make way for the new warehouse. All the warehouses had fallen of use by the mid 1980’s and become increasingly derelict.
They are now being redeveloped, with the north warehouse completed as the Titanic Hotel in 2014. For more info there’s a readable summary here http://albertdockinterpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/175_LectureSeries_StructuralEngineering.pdf

Motivation. Having looked around a number of Liverpool warehouses I’ve become interested in early goods-handling machinery, probably because that’s all that’s left in a warehouse once the wares have gone.
Hoists, cranes and dock gates were all originally hand powered, and some manual hoists can still be found in the attics of the older derelict warehouses.
These then either had electric motors added (from about 1900 onwards) or were replaced with hydraulic devices.
There are examples of both types in a warehouse on Cheapside https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/cheapside-warehouse-liverpool-jan-2018.111683/

As mentioned above, the Stanley warehouses were hydraulically powered so the aim of the mission was to see how much of this was still left.
I knew there were at least a couple of wall hoists or ‘jiggers’ since I’d noticed them on previous visits - a look at the original plans showed that there should be more to find.

These jiggers are simple devices, essentially a block-and-tackle in reverse, with the relatively short stroke of the ram being amplified by pulleys (or ‘sheaves’) at either end, able to lift goods up several floors. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_jigger.

Although it’s quite rare to find jiggers still in situ in Liverpool - I’ve only seen a few so far in other derelict warehouses - there are several preserved examples on public view in the Albert Dock.
Three small ones are also displayed on the outside of the Titanic hotel albeit in positions that make no sense (they were originally inside).

The remaining hydraulic station (1854) is covered here as well since this is what powered the machinery, at least before the local hydraulic network was established.
A photo from the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port summarises how the setup works.
Steam raised in a boiler house powered water pumps (with rams connected directly to the pistons of a steam engine) which pumped water into the accumulator, raising a large, heavily weighted ram.
The function of the accumulator was to maintain pressure in the system and act as a modest energy reserve.

Previous reports. These are listed below in date order since the search function is not that reliable and the focus of the present report is on ‘things’ - previous reports give a better overall picture of the warehouses in their derelict state.
The main tobacco warehouse is still in the process of conversion, and hasn’t changed much since the last report.
Of interest are a couple of photos of a jigger in the attic of the north warehouse in reports from rookinella (2011) and turkey (2006).
I had a look for this in some of the (modernised) attic spaces of the Titanic in case it was still around, but didn’t find it.

urbanchemist https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/stanley-dock-tobacco-warehouse-liverpool-sept-2017.110032/

scotty markfour https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/tobacco-warehouse-liverpool-jan-16.102439/#post-1135289/

BrainL https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/stanley-dock-tobacco-warehouse-liverpool-october-2015.100072/

georgie https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/stanley-dock-hydraulic-accumulator-tower-night-visit-liverpool-aug-2011.64120/

Ojay/Leaf https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/stanley-dock-hydraulic-accumulator-tower-liverpool-september-2011.64447/

rookinella https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/stanley-dock-tobacco-warehouse-liverpool-2011.66711/

georgie https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/tobacco-warehouse-stanley-dock-liverpool-pt1-sep-09.43593/

speed https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/stanley-dock-tobacco-warehouse-liverpool-29-6-08.31841/

dweeb https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/stanley-dock-tobacco-warehouse-wow.2312/

turkey https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/stanley-dock-tobacco-warehouse-09-07-06.2308/ https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/stanley-dock-tobacco-warehouse-26-03-06.891/

Some of the original drawings for the warehouses and pump house are in the archives of the Mersey Dock and Harbour Board (MDHB) and are both partly uncatalogued and awkward to access.
Luckily a selection of the Stanley dock plans are now on display in the Titanic Hotel and these proved to be a useful guide - photos of some of them are reproduced below.

Hydraulic Station. The place hasn’t changed a bit from previous reports.
The only difference is that you can now wave to residents of the hotel next door from the top of the tower. Visited late in the summer with junior.

It’s worth mentioning the gates as we go in - these slid right through a slot in the entrance turrets.
The gate pictured below is at the south-east entrance and is one of the few original ones left on the dock estate.

Pump house (left), accumulator tower (middle) and boiler house (right). No machinery left except for the accumulator.

The building was extended at both ends in 1913, with the red brick chimney added at the same time.

Original elevation without the extensions.

Inside the boiler house. The small doorway to the left of the main passage through to the pump house is the original flue which leads to the little chimney sticking out of the top of the tower.
Early plans show boilers connected to this by a Green’s Economiser, an early type of heat exchanger. When the place was extended the fumes were redirected up the new chimney.

View from the pump house side (left) and part of the accumulator cylinder (right) constructed from boiler plate and filled with rocks.

Heading up the stairs

Looking down on the accumulator. The rock-filled cylinder has broken away from the crosshead.

One of the accumulators in the Birkenhead hydraulic station which has a similar design, showing how the cylinder was originally attached, and the ram projecting up from below.

Views up and down the tower showing the wooden stops. Some type of feedback device would have connected to the throttle of the steam engine.

Tobacco warehouse. Heading over to the main warehouse the pressurised water pipes from the hydraulic station can be seen going under the canal, with smaller diameter pipes emerging into the basement.

These pipes are easily recognised by the characteristic heavy oval flanges. The photo of a partially sectioned pipe was taken in the Manc Museum of Science and Industry, which has an excellent section on hydraulic widgets.

A Kent water meter attached to one of the pipes.

A plan for the warehouse shows 5 pairs of hoists at ground level on the north (dock) side which have now gone.
They were apparently located either side of brick pillars such as the one under the fire escape below.

An old photo (1942) of this side of the warehouse.

Six hoists are shown on the south side at ground level and five of them are still there, all the same, made by J Abbot & Co, Gateshead. A couple of these:

The six goods lifts along the centre of the building are shown as being powered in pairs, but it’s not clear if this was originally hydraulic.
The tops are now demolished but I remember there being large electric motors for both goods and passenger lifts.

Another aspect of goods handling which is still visible are a series of steel hawsers strung between platforms high up on the south face of the warehouse, presumably to give greater scope for swinging stuff around.



28DL Regular User
Regular User

South warehouse. One motivation for a revisit here was that I couldn’t remember what was in the basement other than a long dead weed farm (which may explain why the place was so well guarded a few years ago). Some general basement pictures.

There were 5 jiggers in little rooms on both north and south walls, all the same, two examples and some associated valvage shown below.

The jiggers extend through the basement ceiling emerging on the ground floor with the chains and control wires passing through holes in a metal plate, likely a fireproofing measure.

The extra little jiggers on the sides of the main devices are for left/right slewing of the wall cranes as illustrated in the plan below.

A 1907 photo showing basement access on the south side of the warehouse, and one of the crane-driver’s huts on the north face.

Control chains entering the crane-driver’s hut.

One floor up the pulleys for the crane.

There are five goods lifts in the south warehouse, with details of the hoists illustrated in a 1934 plan for replacing the original wrought iron chains by wire ropes.

Only one of the jiggers survives, a big one, mounted so that the ram extends downwards into the basement.

The basement strongroom was open this time - I don’t think it’s featured in a report since 2009.
Most of the paperwork in here looked like routine shipping records although there were a few old ledgers at the back.
However the floor was several inches deep in festering water and much of the older stuff is pretty far gone - I’m hoping anything of value has already been salvaged.

I quite liked the sewage report commissioned by MDHB (multiple copies of this) since it contained some diagrams and maps - the Mersey was famous for being one of the most polluted estuaries in Europe until quite recently.

We finish with a few early morning warehouse window shots - the chimney on the left is the ‘King’s Pipe’, where waste tobacco was once burnt.

Congratulations if you’ve made it this far.
Now if you come across one of these jiggers on an explore you’ll know what it is, if you didn’t already.
The most likely place to spot them is in older buildings in industrial areas of cities, particularly those which once had hydraulic power networks (Glasgow, Hull, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, London) or port cities with docks.

Sources. Some the pictures and information came from books in the local library.
Hydraulic Power and Hydraulic Machinery (H. Robinson, 1904)
Prospectus of the Liverpool Hydraulic Power Company (1914)
The Hydraulic Age (B. Pugh, 1980)
Liverpool’s Historic Waterfront (N. Richie-Noakes, 1984)
Liverpool Central Docks 1799 - 1905 (A. Jarvis, 1991)
The Liverpool Dock Engineers (A. Jarvis, 1996)


28DL Colonial Member
28DL Full Member
Aces. mate !!! :thumb looks like all the nooks and crannies got 'plored !


28DL Full Member
Excellent report well researched. Can see you put the effort in once again keep them coming.


Amateur and proud
28DL Full Member
Had never heard of them before so nice read.

I stayed in the Titanic Hotel about 3 years back and remember nosing around the warehouse. That was before I started getting into this wee hobby properly though.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Fantastic the usual very high standard of reporting and research which goes into your reports. The room with the paperwork was awesome shame its rotting away. Reminded me of Tyne Dock up here in one of the offices was a pile of old plans of the dock from the early 1900s in colour just left almost to a pulp.


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Firstly I apologise for not sorting my old pics out, I've decided to re-write the report as it's a bit of a saga, and worth retelling properly I feel.

I'm jelous you got in that strong room... @Oxygen Thief and I tried every which way to access it years ago but couldn't. if still very much like to see it.

How beautiful is that water meter!!

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