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Grangemouth Docks

Dock(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Grangemouth Docks

Classification Dock(S) (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Forth And Clyde Canal; River Carron; River Forth; Grangemouth Harbour And Docks; Inner Forth Estuary

Canmore ID 48215

Site Number NS98SW 7

NGR NS 94232 82801

NGR Description Centred NS 94232 82801

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Falkirk
  • Parish Grangemouth
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Falkirk
  • Former County Stirlingshire

Archaeology Notes

NS98SW 7.00 centred 94232 82801

NS98SW 7.01 NS 94943 83799 West Entrance Lock

NS98SW 7.02 NS 95065 83727 and NS 95173 83782 East Entrance Locks

NS98SW 7.03 NS 94674 83443 Eastern Channel (dock)

NS98SW 7.04 NS 94326 82763 Grange Dock

NS98SW 7.05 NS 94100 82660 Grange Dock, The Tongue (quays)

NS98SW 7.06 Centred NS 94150 82830 Grange Dock, North Quay

NS98SW 7.07 Centred NS 94240 82600 Grange Dock, South Quay

NS98SW 7.08 NS 93650 82540 Western Channel (dock)

NS98SW 7.09 NS 93243 82622 Swing Bridge (between Western Channel and Carron Dock)

NS98SW 7.10 NS 92872 82513 Carron Dock

NS98SW 7.11 NS 93253 82714 Carron Dry Dock

NS98SW 7.12 NS 92600 82402 Old Dock, Swing Bridge

NS98SW 7.13 NS 92500 82470 Old Dock (formerly part of canal dock system)

NS98SW 7.14 NS 92425 82317 Junction Dock (Grangemouth West Wet Dock)

NS98SW 7.15 NS 92435 82284 Junction Dock, Wharf (Grangemouth West Wet Dock Wharf)

NS98SW 7.16 NS 94459 83944 to NS c. 93083 82843 Breakwater (River Carron)

NS98SW 7.17 NS 94463 83928 Beacon ('Grangemouth 2': on breakwater)

NS98SW 7.18 NS 94545 83831 Beacon ('Grangemouth 1')

Grangemouth Docks [NAT] (name centred NS 946 835)

Grangemouth Harbour & Docks [NAT] (name centred NS 935 830)

OS 1:10,000 map, 1993.

For (integral) Grangemouth Dockyard Co. Shipyard (NS 919 822 to 921 823), see NS98SW 11.

(Location cited as NS 918 822 to 923 825). Although suspected in 1573 of being used for the export of contraband, the mouth of the River Carron hardly comes into notice as a harbour before the building of the Forth and Clyde Canal, of which it became the terminal in 1777. The lowermost reaches must have been difficult to navigate before about 1765, when they were straightened and shortened.

The OS 6-inch map of 1854 marks 'Harbour' in the mouth of the canal, immediately above its junction with the Carron estuary, but Ainslie's plan of 1797 shows 'Grange Mouth Harbour' in the estuary itself with 'Captain Hamilton's Wharf' in what is now the Grangemouth Dockyard Company's yard (NS98SW 11). Part of this company's wharf is faced with masonry which might possibly fgo back to Ainslie's time, and much of this right bank of the estuary probably has been used as wharfage at one time or another as various dilapidated remains may be seen on waste ground near the canal junction.

The entrance to the canal is a cut about 500 ft (152.4m) long by up to 200 ft (60.9m) wide. The outer portion has sloping sides faced with dry-stone masonry, and its E bank recedes to form a small bay, no doubt intended to facilitate the turning of ships; the inner portion is faced with ashlar, the margins of the wharves being formed of very large slabs secured with iron cramps. The place is derelict, and no fittings survive apart from a number of heavy mooring-rings.

A Graham 1971.

Grangemouth Docks. Built from 1838 by the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Caledonian Rly. The first dock here was the Old Dock (NS 925 825) which was built in 1838-43, entered from the River Carron, and linked with the canal by a short cut. This was widened to form the Junction Dock (completed 1859) and a much larger dock, the Carron Dock (NS 927 825), also entered from the river, was added in 1883. The two river locks were reduced in importance by the completion (in 1906) of the new Grange Dock with its associated Western and Eastern Channels and new entrance lock (NS 940 827).

J R Hume 1976.

The Forth Ports Authority (FPA) was formed in 1968 to control the ports of Leith (NT27NE 57), Grangemouth (NS98SW 7), Burntisland (NT28NW 30), Methil (NT39NE 11), Kirkcaldy (NT29SE 44) and Granton (NT27NW 28), from headquarters at Leith. Between 1968 and 1983 over £40 million was spent on facilities. In 1982 over 27.5 million tonnes of cargo (of varied types) passed through the Firth of Forth. The FPA also controls the Forth Navigation Service, and is the pilotage authority. The FPA fleet provides towage at Leith, Granton and the Forth ports.

Situated at the head of the estuary, and central to Scotland's industrial sector, the impounded Grangemouth is the busiest individual port North of the Tees. Principal details are as follows:

Access: 24-hour access by [East] entrance lock 237.73m long and 29.1m wide between fenders. The depth over the outer sill is 11.7m at MHWS, the water level being maintained constant at all times.

Eastern channel: common user jetty (bunkering facilities), 6 private jetties (chemical and petroleum storage), 1 LPG private berth. Water area 28ha, quayage 175m.

Grange Dock: Ro-Ro berth and container berths with road and rail access, trailer parking areas, and container handling compound. Water area 12ha, quayage 2,175m, floor area of transit sheds 19, 356 sq. m.

Forest Products Terminal: total area 20,400 sq. m (incl. floor area of transit sheds 5,100 sq. m).

Carron Dock: water area 7.7ha, quayage 774m, floor area of transit sheds 3,250 sq. m., road and rail access.

Junction Dock: water area 1.3ha, quayage 250m, road access.

Old Dock: water area 1.8ha, quayage 110m, road access.

Carron dry dock (privately owned): 106.6 x 15.8 x 6.7m.

Middle dry dock: (privately owned): 102.1 x 15.2 x 5.7m.

Grangemouth was (in 1966) the first British port to construct a container terminal, at the start of the SeaLand service; a second major container shipping company (US Lines) began operations from the port in 1979. Current annual throughput is around 45,000 TEU.

Bulk traffic (including coal, ores, magnesite, clay and petroleum coke) is also handled. Refurbishment of four heavy grabbing cranes on the East Quay of Grange Dock began in 1981.

The forest products terminal on the North wall of Grange Dock handles a major share of Scotland's imported forest products, being designed to enable to vessels to discharge simultaneously. A fleet of 11t-capacity forklift trucks equipped with vacuum clamps is used to handle a varied throughput, including soft- and hardwood, pulp paper, board and newsprint.

Most areas of the dock system are ideal for Ro-Ro operations, and can cope with stern, bow or side-loading vessels. A purpose-built Ro-Ro facility in Grange Dock is backed by large areas of trailer parking space. In 1981, the ramp was widened to allow use by indivisible heavy loads, typically associated with North Sea oilfield developments.

Oil-related tonnage forms a large percentage of the port's throughput, petrochemical cargoes being piped underground to and from tankers berthed in the Eastern Channel. Concentration of the UK activities of BP at Grangemouth has led to the construction of two additional jetties, and to an increase in the turning area and depth of water at the entrance.

Total cargo handled in 1982 was 7,501,173t (1,995,371t inwards, and 5,505,802t outwards). This figure included 6.4 million tonnes of oil and chemicals,

(Illustrative map and photographs: table of principal tenant companies).

[Forth Ports Authority] 1983.

Grangemouth harbour and docks consists of an Eastern Channel, Western Channel, Grange Dock and Carron Dock, in addition to oil depots at the north-east end. Numerous warehouses are situated throughout area.

Site recorded by GUARD during the Coastal Assessment Survey for Historic Scotland, 'The Firth of Forth from Dunbar to the Coast of Fife' 21st February 1996.


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