Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 16 2016
Webpage updated: April 17, 2021

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The penultimate phase of growth of the Royal Dockyard, the North Yard Extension, was begun without ceremony in February 1896 under the authority of the Naval Works Act 1895.  It was carried out under the watchful eye of Sir John Jackson and his Superintendent Civil Engineer (Sir) Whately Eliot MICE.  It covered 114 acres, of which 35 acres was above the high water mark chiefly on reclaimed land, and 78 acres were foreshore.  The construction work cost the nation some 6 million in total.

North Yard Extension comprised Basin number 4, sometimes known as the Tidal Basin; Basin number 5, the Prince of Wales Basin; the Entrance Lock to Number 5 Basin, which became North Lock; Docks 4, 5, and 6, which became Dock 8, Dock 9 and Dock 10 respectively; the Pumping Engine House; the Coaling Depot; and the Boat Shed, the most northerly building in the Royal Dockyard.  When completed, the Royal Dockyard would have ten docks and five basins.

On Saturday January 13th 1905 Lady Jackson, with some assistance from her husband, opened the sluice that started the water flowing to flood the tidal basin.

North Yard Extension was officially opened on Wednesday February 20th 1907 by HRH the Prince of Wales, later King George V, although the first ship, HMS "Hibernia", had docked there on Friday August 10th 1906.

In October 1907 the Western Morning News reported that Messrs Cowans, Sheldon and Company Limited, of Carlisle, had been contracted to supply one 20-ton crane, two 30-ton steam traveling cranes, two Fairbairn 75-ton electric cranes and one 160-ton electric revolving cantilever crane, for which the concrete foundations were already being constructed by Messrs Sir John Jackson Limited.

In 1908 the Yard's first of the revolving 75-ton cranes, capable of handling ordnance of up to 75 tons, was installed alongside the Prince of Wales Basin and the 160-ton cantilever crane was about to be raised by means of sheerlegs.

In 1925 Floating Dock 1, which dated from 1876, was replaced by a larger Floating Dock 2 in Weston Mill Lake, north of the North Yard Extension.

Other notable buildings in North Yard Extension included the Electrical Fitting Shop; the Shipwrights' Machine Shop 81; the Shipfitters' Shop 79; the Torpedo Depot; the Gun Mounting and Hydraulic Store; the Smithery; the Foremen's Office; the Cold Store; the Joiners' Shop; the Workmen's Dining Hall; the Mast House; the Turbine Shop; the Paint and Inflammable Store; the Paint Mixing Shop; the Surgery; and the Mortuary.