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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Portishead UK


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Portishead Marina

Once the site of a large chemical works producing explosives for use in WW1 plus deadly phosphorus. In the 1950`s a large electricity power station was built on the site and now all traces have been removed and replaced with residential developments. The figures for WW1 are awesome and given the sites proximity to Avonmouth Docks I guess the petrol would been loaded onto merchant ships for tranport to the battlefields at the docks.

The red arrow indicates the location of the petrol storage tanks.

Image from Google Earth

Text from an information board at the site




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On the Portishead site,Bristol Corporation built the first power station in the late 1920s,later known as Portishead "A".

In the mid 1950s,Portishead "B" was projected as a step forward in the design and construction of larger generating units.These units were quickly superseded with generating plant of a higher capacity and operating thermal efficiency but nevertheless served their 25-30 year projected life.

No doubt the dock was the ideal location for a petrol depot,considered to be out of range of the German air fleet during the Great War.I wonder if the refinery supplying the depot was at Plymouth.For generating plant,the dock would provide an assured supply of cooling water to condense the steam turbine exhaust steam.

The South Wales coalfield supplied the coal for firng along with the lesser volume of supplies from the North Somerset coalfield..... now all gone to history.

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Thanks for the additional information, just the petrol figures are staggering, 16,000 gallons per day = almost 6 million gallons per year and this was just 70% of the total required. Consider also that the crude oil had to be transported from the oil-producing counties such as Persia (as was) then the logistics required become very big indeed. Sobering to realise that all this crude was transported to the UK by tankers crewed by the merchant navy. I assume that the explosives produced here would be taken by rail to the munitions factories where the the shells were made as there was a railway spur to this complex at the time. Almost forgot the nearly 3 million petrol cans required per year although these could be recycled.



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