Nomadic moves in to Hamilton Dock

A momentous stage in the restoration of SS Nomadic took place today as the ship moved into her new home at Hamilton Dock in Titanic Quarter, which, in a twist of fate, was used in her construction nearly a century ago. Led by Belfast Harbour and Titanic Quarter, the process has been more than 12 months in planning and paves the way for the start of Nomadic’s restoration work.

The move into the 142 year old dry dock was one of intricacy, involving the preparation of a detailed docking plan to map out how Nomadic would be supported once in dry dock, the use of a 500 tonne crane to move the dock gate, three tugs to tow the ship across to Abercorn Basin, four pumps to drain the dock and the assistance of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service’s HVP (High Volume Pumping) unit.

Denis Rooney Chairman of the Nomadic Charitable Trust said:

“Nomadic’s arrival into Hamilton Dock marks the next significant milestone in this project and it’s a fantastic achievement to successfully reach this point.  The Trust is extremely grateful to Belfast Harbour and Titanic Quarter for providing Nomadic with such a fitting home and for the resources they have contributed to make this happen.”

Roy Adair CEO of Belfast Harbour added: 

“Apart from her connections with Titanic, the Hamilton Dry Dock is an important piece of Belfast’s maritime heritage in its own right.  It was the first dry dock to be built by the Harbour Commissioners on the County Down side of the Port and was required to service the increasingly large ships being built by Edward Harland’s yard.  Countless ships were fitted out in the dock, which at 140m long, 25m wide and 6.7m deep was a marvel of early Victorian engineering”. 

Mike Smith, CEO of Titanic Quarter, continued:

“Nowhere else in the world can tell the authentic story of the Titanic and her sister ships.  Belfast’s Titanic legacy – the Thompson Dry Dock, the Drawing Offices, the slipways, Nomadic and now Hamilton Dock are being brought back to life.

“Belfast’s maritime history is a tremendous asset which can and should be used to market not just Titanic Quarter but Northern Ireland as a whole.  This is a unique story and one which will appeal to visitors from across these islands and further afield.”

Hamilton Dry Dock took over four years to construct between 1863 and 1867.  It was named after the then Chairman of the Harbour Commissioners, James Hamilton, who was followed in 1875 by Sir Edward Harland, founder of Harland & Wolff.  Its original gate, which can still be seen today at the North East end of the dock, is believed to be the first ‘vessel’ built by Harland & Wolff in 1867.