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TITLE
'Treatise on the Planning and Constructing of Harbours in Deep Water', by James Bremner, 1845 - Page 44a
EXTERNAL ID
Z_QZP40_TREATISE_000660_044a
DATE OF IMAGE
1845
PERIOD
1840s
CREATOR
James Bremner
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
40881
KEYWORDS
civil engineer
engineering
pier
piers

This 'Treatise on the Planning and Constructing of Harbours in Deep Water' was written by James Bremner, a shipbuilder, harbour builder and wreck raiser who was born in 1784 in Stain, near the village of Keiss in Caithness.

Bremner's 'Treatise' was published in 1845, and summarises the development of his career, as well as providing detailed technical accounts of many of the projects he had undertaken up to that time.

The introduction to the 'Treatise' outlines Bremner's early career and how he became involved in harbour building. In 1798 he began an apprenticeship with the shipbuilding firm, Robert Steele & Sons, in Greenock, before returning to Wick to establish his own shipbuilding business. Bremner became involved in harbour construction in 1807, when he was employed by the building contractor of the new Pulteneytown harbour. The contractor had no experience of harbour construction, and Bremner designed a vessel to help move and lay stones during the building process, and eventually took charge of the underwater building on the project.

During his career, James Bremner built or carried out major repairs to 18 harbours, and in this publication he provides technical accounts of the planning and construction of harbours at Keiss, Wick, Sarclet and Lossiemouth.

Bremner also developed a considerable reputation as a raiser of wrecked ships. He successfully raised 236 vessels during his career, and the 'Treatise' gives a full account of the methods Bremner employed to salvage ships from the sea bed. One of the examples Bremner uses in his 'Treatise' is that of the 'Uncertain', which had sunk off the Butt of Lewis in 1841 in 11 fathoms of water. Three failed attempts were made by other wreck raisers to rescue the ship, but it was Bremner who succeeded in bringing the vessel into shallow water where she could be repaired. Although it is not detailed in the 'Treatise', his greatest achievement in this field took place in 1845 when Bremner refloated the 'SS Great Britain'. The ship had run aground in Dundrum Bay in Ireland and was, at that time, the largest vessel on the seas.

The 'Treatise' also contains an explanation and technical drawings of a number of Bremener's patented inventions to aid the construction and cleansing of harbours, and to facilitate pile driving and wreck raising. The 'Treatise' concludes with a number of testimonials of Bremner's work and expertise by previous employers and fellow engineers. These provide us with an interesting insight into Bremner's character, with many paying tribute to his "intrepidity", "activity" and "perseverance".

James Bremner was elected a Corresponding Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1833. He died in August 1856, three months after his wife of forty-five years, Christina Sinclair. A monument was erected to Bremner in Wick in 1903, and his portrait hangs in Wick Town Hall.

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'Treatise on the Planning and Constructing of Harbours in Deep Water', by James Bremner, 1845 - Page 44a

1840s

civil engineer; engineering; pier; piers

Highland Libraries

This 'Treatise on the Planning and Constructing of Harbours in Deep Water' was written by James Bremner, a shipbuilder, harbour builder and wreck raiser who was born in 1784 in Stain, near the village of Keiss in Caithness. <br /> <br /> Bremner's 'Treatise' was published in 1845, and summarises the development of his career, as well as providing detailed technical accounts of many of the projects he had undertaken up to that time. <br /> <br /> The introduction to the 'Treatise' outlines Bremner's early career and how he became involved in harbour building. In 1798 he began an apprenticeship with the shipbuilding firm, Robert Steele & Sons, in Greenock, before returning to Wick to establish his own shipbuilding business. Bremner became involved in harbour construction in 1807, when he was employed by the building contractor of the new Pulteneytown harbour. The contractor had no experience of harbour construction, and Bremner designed a vessel to help move and lay stones during the building process, and eventually took charge of the underwater building on the project. <br /> <br /> During his career, James Bremner built or carried out major repairs to 18 harbours, and in this publication he provides technical accounts of the planning and construction of harbours at Keiss, Wick, Sarclet and Lossiemouth. <br /> <br /> Bremner also developed a considerable reputation as a raiser of wrecked ships. He successfully raised 236 vessels during his career, and the 'Treatise' gives a full account of the methods Bremner employed to salvage ships from the sea bed. One of the examples Bremner uses in his 'Treatise' is that of the 'Uncertain', which had sunk off the Butt of Lewis in 1841 in 11 fathoms of water. Three failed attempts were made by other wreck raisers to rescue the ship, but it was Bremner who succeeded in bringing the vessel into shallow water where she could be repaired. Although it is not detailed in the 'Treatise', his greatest achievement in this field took place in 1845 when Bremner refloated the 'SS Great Britain'. The ship had run aground in Dundrum Bay in Ireland and was, at that time, the largest vessel on the seas. <br /> <br /> The 'Treatise' also contains an explanation and technical drawings of a number of Bremener's patented inventions to aid the construction and cleansing of harbours, and to facilitate pile driving and wreck raising. The 'Treatise' concludes with a number of testimonials of Bremner's work and expertise by previous employers and fellow engineers. These provide us with an interesting insight into Bremner's character, with many paying tribute to his "intrepidity", "activity" and "perseverance".<br /> <br /> James Bremner was elected a Corresponding Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1833. He died in August 1856, three months after his wife of forty-five years, Christina Sinclair. A monument was erected to Bremner in Wick in 1903, and his portrait hangs in Wick Town Hall.