Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
Penarth Dock, South Wales - the heritage & legacy . . .

Volume Four - An Era of Change, Uncertainty, Depression & War - The Penarth Dock Engineering Company Limited . . .

1958 - 'Dame Caroline Haslett'
1958 - 'Dame Caroline Haslett'

1958 - 'Dame Caroline Haslett' - originally a collier but refitted as a cable-laying vessel at the Penarth Pontoon and Slipway Company Limited during 1958. The intended refit was to enable her to lay an electrical power transmission cable on the seabed between the UK and France.

She was built by Hall, Russell & Company Limited at their Aberdeen yard during 1949-1950, having been designed for service as a collier. Her owners, the British Electricity Authority, London and managed by Stephenson Clarke Limited later changed to the Central Electricity Generating Board (C.E.G.B.).

'The vessel was named by Dame Caroline Haslett (1895-1957). Caroline Haslett was born at Worth, Sussex in 1895. During the First World War, she joined the Cochran Boiler Company where she acquired a basic engineering training and from that time became something of a pioneer for women in the electrical and professional world'. [739]

I believe the refit at Penarth during 1949-1950 refers to the laying of the new 160 MW power cable system which went into service in 1961 :

'The first HVDC Cross-Channel scheme was built by ASEA and went into service in 1961 between converter stations at Lydd in England (next to Dungeness Nuclear Power Station) and Echinghen, near Boulogne-sur-Mer, in France. This scheme was equipped with Mercury arc valves, each having four anodes in parallel. In order to keep the disturbances of the magnetic compasses of passing ships as small as possible, a bipolar cable was used. The cable had a length of 65 kilometres (40 mi) and was operated symmetrically at a voltage of ±100 kV and a maximum current of 800 amperes. The maximum transmission power of this cable was 160 megawatts (MW). The cable was built by ABB Group. Given that the cable was laid on the surface of the seabed it was prone to being fouled by fishing nets, causing damage. Whilst repairs were undertaken there was considerable down time on the circuit resulting in a loss of trading. Indeed, by 1984 the circuit was disconnected from the Main Transmission System.' [043]

The 'Burntisland Shipbuilding Group Journal', September 1959 has a photograph : 'The Dame Caroline Haslett on the Thames being fitted with cable paying-out gear for cable trials in connection with the cross channel electricity link between England and France'. [739]

Credit, with much gratitude, for photograph [425] and for plan [739] [20190928]

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