Hamilton Graving Dock / SS Nomadic
Completed 1867 / Launched April 25th 1911
The 450th long Hamilton Graving Dock (1863 - 1867) was the first graving dock to be built on the County Down side of the River Lagan. It is serviced by the 12 acres of sheltered water that form the Abercorn Basin.
Both the Hamilton Dock and the Abercorn Basin arose out of a need to service Belfast's rapidly expanding port and ship building industries. By the 1850s, trade to and from the growing town was increasing dramatically, helped by the completion in 1849 of the Victoria Channel, a deep water cut into Belfast harbour that allowed larger ships access to the port. There were also improved docking and storage facilities at the Donegall, Albert and Prince Quays. However, this activity was focused on the County Antrim side of the River Lagan and the County Down side of the river remained relatively undeveloped.
In 1854, the newly appointed Belfast Harbour Commissioners, formerly the Ballast Board, obtained Parliamentary permission to develop extensive reclamation, dock timber storage and shipbuilding facilities on the County Down side of the harbour. Their foresight in
The building of the dock was not without its controversy. Its site had been bitterly opposed by the Belfast Shipwrights Society, who cited the life-threatening risk to shipyard workers crossing the river, in crowded boats, often in darkness. A compromise was reached when the Harbour Commissioners agreed to build a vast floating dock, a graving dock and a service basin on the County Antrim side. This would become the Dufferin and Spencer Docks.
The Hamilton Graving Yard was completed in 1867 and Harland and Wolff used the dock and the basin to launch many of the ships they built for the White Star Line, including Nomadic and Traffic, the passenger tenders to Olympic and Titanic.
[Illustration caption reads]
The 'Belfast' in Hamilton Graving Dock
While the Titanic may have gone, one historic element of her story is very much with us. SS Nomadic, built to ferry passengers and freight to and from the liners Olympic and Titanic as they called at Cherbourg, has returned to Belfast, the City of
The Nomadic was built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast and was launched on 25 April 1911. The White Star Line took delivery of her on 27 May 1911 and she attended the departure of the Olympic from Liverpool on 31 May 1911, the same day the Titanic was launched. The sumptuously appointed Nomadic brought first and second class passengers to Titanic and Olympic, while her sister Traffic, ferried third class passengers and mail. Nomadic had a gross tonnage of 1,272, and is 221 feet long.
In 1927, Nomadic was sold to Compagnie Cherbourgeoise de Transbordment, with an agreement to continue ferrying the White Star Line's passengers. She was sold again in 1934 and renamed Ingerieur Minard for Cherbourgeoise de Remorquage et de Sauvetage. She continued tender service at Cherbourg until the occupation of the port during World War II, and in 1940 she [was] sent to England. She saw active service during the War and was used as a troopship to evacuate soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force from Le Havre, and she was used as a patrol vessel and minelayer. She survived the War [and] returned intact to Cherbourg in 1945. Her sister, Traffic, was sunk.
After the war, Ingerieur Minard continued to service a new generation of great liners such as the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. However, in 1968 she was initially sold to be broken up, but instead was converted into a
In April 2003 Nomadic was moved downstream to the Quai du Bresil at the French port of Le Havre and a temporary preservation notice was put on her by the French Ministry of Culture.
However, in time the temporary notice expired and the Nomadic lost her status as a French Historical Monument. The Harbour of Paris decided to sell the ship by auction. Fortunately she was purchased by the Northern Ireland Office in 2006 and has since been returned home to Belfast, the City of her birth.
[Photo caption reads]
SS Nomadic, 1912
The Pump House (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Pump House (within shouting distance of this marker); Hamilton Dock Stone Construction (within shouting distance of this marker); Building the Dock 1864-1867 / Belfast's Industrial Growth (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line); Nomadic in Hamilton Dock (about 90 meters away); Queen's Island Shipyard / Belfast's Industrial Growth (about 90 meters away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Belfast.
Erected by the City of Belfast.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1849.
Location. 54° 36.344′ N, 5° 54.656′ W. Marker is in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Marker is at the intersection of Queens Road and Bell's Theorem Crescent, on the left when traveling north on Queens Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 11 ARC Queens Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT3 6DH, United Kingdom. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Poop Deck (within shouting distance of this marker); Hamilton Dock By Numbers (within shouting distance of this
Also see . . .
1. The Hamilton Graving Dock. (Submitted on June 18, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. SS Nomadic History. (Submitted on June 18, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 18, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 18, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 75 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 18, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.