Birkenhead Docks model 1:1200 scale – base construction 1

Model built for the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum, Birkenhead, UK.

Plans for the completion of the Birkenhead Docks model 2019

The model, due for completion in 2019, is just under 3m long and 1m wide. The docks will be displayed as they appeared in 1924, prior to the building of ‘Bidston’ dock in 1933. The display will show all of the buildings at that time and will be populated by ships of the correct era plus tugs, barges and lighters.

It is proposed that the model will be supported on three identical sets of drawers, each between 10 and 15cm deep, with Perspex covers, to house the 1:1200 scale ship models of the Museum’s collections. Documentation will be in each drawer describing its contents.

The project is a joint venture by Steve Jones (donating the model, model ships and financing some of the costs), Sean Morris (making of the base plate and three drawer units) and the Museum itself (financing part of the construction and supporting the displays).

The model will have an armoured glass front section and cover, The solid back section will allow access and provide a display area for information.

Steve will be donating not only the model but also his collection of over 2,000 1:1200 scale ship models which cover ships of all ages and types. In addition there will be models to this same stage placed in the larger model display cabinets (in the shipping room) as a comparative for visitors. This is important as the scales of the builders’ models are different.

Work on 12th & 13th March 2019

The pattern was cut to allow markings out on the 228 x 72 cm MDF board. The elements representing the entrance Docks, Vittoria Dock, the East and West Floats were cut to shape ready for the marking of the 3mm MDF to represent the quaysides.

Marking the outline of the docks:

The outline was drawn from the pattern, ensuring accuracy, then the plan was cut into sections to enable detail to be added at a later stage. The pattern contained numbering for the  buildings of the entrance docks which also appear on the building models.

Above is the entrance docks, East Float, Vittoria docks and the Mersey river bank.

Above is the Mobil terminal area of the West Float and the graving docks.

Above: 3 mm MDF is cut out to create the quays on 14th May 2019

Above: 3 mm MDF, cut out to create the quays is glued and pinned onto the 18 mm base board on 14th May 2019, ready for painting and the addition of rail lines and building positions.

Above: Docks base assembled and painted 15th May 2019


Above: (L to R) 1. West Float & graving docks,  2. West Float, Duke Street Bridge, East Float & Vittoria docks,             3. Entrance docks (Alfred, Egerton, Morpeth, Wallasey docks) with road system indicated. 18th May 2019

Entrance docks buildings and railway lines (GWR, LMSR) 16th June 2019

Entrance docks with rail lines and buildings in place 4th August 2019 below with ships, tugs, barges, cranes, elevators

Duke street bridge area with rail lines 4th August 2019, below with ships, tugs, barges, cranes, elevators

Western end of the West Float with the Mobil oil terminal, graving docks, Ocean and Spiller’s mills with rail lines – 4th August 2019 – below with ships, tugs, barges, cranes, elevators

The completed model on 11th August 2019. From left to right: West Float with (S bank) Mobil terminal, Graving docks, Rank and Spillers mills, grain elevator (N bank) Cubbins boat yard, gas works. Duke Street bridge. East Float with (N bank) Hall line warehouse, Homepride mill, Grain storage warehouses (S bank) Chain works, warehouse, Vittoria Dock warehouses, Cathcart St Station. Entrance docks: Four bridges, hydraulic tower, Alfred Dock with locks to the Mersey and East Float, Wallasey Dock, Egerton Dock, Morpeth Dock and branch dock with entrance to Mersey.