Ancient Monuments

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Ballast pond at Torpoint 690m west of North Corner Quay

A Scheduled Monument in Torpoint, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3713 / 50°22'16"N

Longitude: -4.1939 / 4°11'37"W

OS Eastings: 244083.405

OS Northings: 54679.0626

OS Grid: SX440546

Mapcode National: GBR R1V.9X

Mapcode Global: FRA 2832.1YT

Entry Name: Ballast pond at Torpoint 690m west of North Corner Quay

Scheduled Date: 23 September 1983

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007261

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 1085

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Torpoint

Built-Up Area: Torpoint

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Torpoint

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a ballast pond, situated just above the low water mark within the Hamoaze, at the eastern tip of the Torpoint peninsula opposite Devonport Dockyard. The ballast pond survives as a roughly square stone-walled enclosure measuring approximately 80m with walls of dressed limestone rubble with paved upper surfaces. The walls stand to over 2m high and measure approximately 4.5m thick at the base tapering to 2.4m at the top. The inner facing walls are stepped. The entrance is approximately 10m wide with rounded wall ends. There are cast iron mooring rings at intervals. Access to the pond from the shore is via a wooden footbridge. The interior is today lined with galvanised fenders to prevent damage, and there are modern fixtures and fittings for its current use as a marina. These are excluded from the scheduling although the structure beneath is included.

The pound was built by the Admiralty in 1783 following an agreement negotiated the previous year. When repairs to the bottom of a ship were required, much of the ballast had to be removed. This was placed into lighters, which would often be heavily-laden. To facilitate storage of the ballast within the lighters without the need to unload them, they were kept within the pound until the repairs were made and the ballast required again. The ballast was of shingle until this was superseded by pig iron in the 19th century, when the ballast pond went out of use. In 1905 it was proposed that the ballast pond be covered with a shed and used to accommodate submarines undergoing repair. In the 1930's it was used to berth tugs during repairs.

The ballast pond or pound is Listed Grade II (61990).

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-437688

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The ballast pond at Torpoint 690m west of North Corner Quay facilitated simple storage of ballast-laden barges at the time when this area was made up of shingle, presenting particularly operational difficulties, thus allowing the ballast to be efficiently stored without unnecessary over-handling. It reflects the growing importance of the area for the repair of ships at the naval dockyard. As such, it is a key element of naval maintenance history which was superseded by changes in technology. It is an unusual survival and a relatively rare piece of maritime history which survives well.

Source: Historic England

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