1.  The Great Escape

2.   Memories of Dartmouth

3.   The Light Thief, tonight!

4.   Small News

 

 

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1.  The Great Escape


Dartmouth’s £150,000 refurbished tennis courts have been saved from being ripped up a matter of months after they were given their major overhaul – amid engineering workings reminiscent of mining tunnels that would not disgrace a remake of the Second World War film epic The Great Escape.

Engineers working on the project had to resort to old fashioned mining techniques called “timber heading” complete with trolleys on rails to haul out the spoil after seven ancient tree stumps thwarted the massive drilling bit – or auger – just eight metres short of the 46metres to cross beneath the Coronation Park courts. In a triumph of collaborative working and innovative engineering between site owners South Hams District Council, South West Water, and their engineers Balfour Beatty it was agreed to try to use a giant laser-guided auger to bore a 150mm hole to carry a new sewer pipe to relieve a flooding problem in Coombe Road.

But like the PoWs in The Great Escape there were risks – which curiously dated back to the Second World War. The ground beneath the courts was used by the Americans in 1942 as a base for part of the war effort and engineers had no clear idea what they might find. In another part of the site is buried an early submarine and other smaller one man subs.

Tom King, site manager for Balfour Beatty, said: “It would have been unthinkable cutting up the courts and not necessarily less expensive since once we had broken the concrete slab on which the courts were placed reinstating, and resurfacing that would have been quite difficult and possibly costly.” First engineers had to sink a 2.1metre diameter precast concrete manhole, and behind it cast a concrete thrust block to take auger drilling loads of up to 100 tons. The auger was then bolted in position and the drill pushed through. Tom added: “Seven metres from the far edge of the courts we hit an obstruction. We then had to have a three man team tunnelling in the old fashioned way from the other side putting up timber heading and shuttering to support the many tons of earth and courts above the 1.2metre square tunnel.  “We installed a rail track to carry out the soil and had all the Health and Safety checks carried out because this is a high risk activity. We even pumped in a fresh supply of air and the men were only allowed to use their air picks for 18 minutes at a time to avoid vibration injuries. We removed 20 tons of soil, seven tree roots and scores of old bottles.”

Site foreman Anthony Coles said: “We were lucky to make it across under the courts as far as we did with the auger. There are submarines, including one man subs and other debris buried here we might have come up against. As it is I think those tree stumps were buried in 1942 when the Americans had their base here.” Work began in November to make a connection between the Coombe Road sewer to another on the other side of the courts nearer the river that had spare capacity to cope with storm conditions that previously caused flooding in the road around the park.

Councillor Bill Hitchins, South Hams Executive Member for Assets, said: “South Hams District Council is delighted that South West Water has completed the construction of the new sewer at Coronation Park with only limited disturbance.

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2.  Memories of Dartmouth

Dartmouth Museum have started a history page, that starts now, modern history in fact! 

Here is an excerpt from it:  History starts now. Something that just happened is history. When it's gone it's gone, unless someone records it. So let us have your memories.

In March 2012, Dartmouth in Bloom volunteers replanted the poignant memorial to Michael Christiansen (29 April 1963 - 2 January 1978) with colourful primulas before its forthcoming summer planting of red and white zonal pelargoniums. 

This is a truly fascinating place to look, click here to see it.

Why not come down for the weekend, or even a week?

Self catering accommodation click here

Dartmouth B and B  click here

Dartmouth Hotels click here

A Tourist Guide to Dartmouth click here

Shopping in Dartmouth click here

Eating and drinking in Dartmouth  click here

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3.   The Light Thief : showing tonight

Director: Aktan Arym Kubat : Actors: Aktan Arym Kubat, Asan Amanov, Stanbek Toichubaev : 80 minutes : Drama

A visually ravishing political allegory that manages to be warm, witty and utterly charming. In a remote region in the south of Kyrgyzstan, left struggling after the break up of the Soviet Union, a popular, open-hearted electrician known as Mr Light is kind to the old folks, rescues young boys from trees and tampers with meters so that the impoverished rural community who cannot afford electricity have access to it. This sort of Robin Hood altruism does not make him popular with the authorities; but he is then taken up by exploitative entrepreneurs and he finds himself a pawn in a bigger game, drawn into an ever-darkening vortex of corruption….

Films are screened at The Guildhall, Victoria Road, Dartmouth. The bar is open from 7.00pm and the films start at 7.30pm Guest tickets are available on the night for £3.50 each from “The Windjammer” Victoria Road between 7.00pm & 7.25pm only. No guest tickets will be sold on the door. For more information call Clive Osborne on: Tel. 07968 026449

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5.   Small News

  • Remember, all photographs (header excepted) we taken within 10 days of publication.  Dartmouth really is this beautiful all year round!
     

  • Join our Dartmouth News Facebook page and read things  you never knew about Dartmouth!  Click on the logo or click here.  Or if you are travelling it's simply www.facebook.com/DartmouthNews  nothing more !

 

Why not come and visit Dartmouth?

 

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Images copyright  Dave Cawley,  Andy Kyle,  & others. 
 

 

 

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Dave Cawley  Tel.  01803 833366  Fax. 01803 839498