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Field Visit

Date 1986

Event ID 935319

Category Recording

Type Field Visit


(Location cited as NO 431 309). Stannergate, Dundee. This First World War seaplane base was one of several established by the Royal Naval Air Service along the E coast of Britain for the conduct of reconnaissance and anti-submarine operations. Occupying a 10.1 ha site on the banks of the River Tay, the base was initially equipped with two hangars and a slipway, suitable for serving seaplanes such as the Short 184. The hangars were possibly transferred from an earlier base at Port Laing (NT18SW 106) on the River Forth. By April 1918 a third hangar of more substantial dimensions had been erected, with adjacent slipway, along the E side of the site in order to house the larger Curtiss H-12 and Felixstowe F2A flying boats. This hangar, which can be identified as the tall building in the middle background axial with the slipway, is now all that remains of the original complex.

Classified as an F-type hangar, of which two examples built in the 1920's also remain in Scotland at Evanton (NH66NW 34.00) and West Freugh (NX15SW 22), it has a structural frame of all-metal construction set out on a 17ft (5.18m) regular grid. The main area measures 204ft (62.18m) in length by 104ft (31.7m) over a clear roof span, with headroom ('ceiling') of 27ft (8.23m). There is, in addition, a single-storeyed range which extends along the W side. The trusses are of lattice-style construction, and the principal wall-members are made of of U-channel sections and cast with the maker's name 'THE FRODINGHAM IRON & STEEL CO LTD, ENGLAND'.

External, the end-walls are reinforced with raking members, but the main architectural feature of the building is the E wall, which was capable of being opened in sections over its entire length. Framed wheeled doors, each 51ft (15.55m) in width, were manually operated by a crank-and-chain drive. The minimum of fixed supports were used to carry the guide-rails and eaves-girder; these supports comprised latticed stanchions at each end and raking frames at the midpoints, where the girder spanning the double-width central opening is deeper and projects above the eaves-line. Both the roof and walls were clad with corrugated asbestos sheeting of the 'Trafford Tile' pattern, then a relatively new material.

G D Hay and G P Stell 1986.

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