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Runcorn Waterfront


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This is a homage to my home town, showing the waterfront of Runcorn in Cheshire, and some of her industries and heritage.
Therefore, I have tried to put in as much detail as possible.  The scene revolves around the (Queen) Aethelreda Railway Bridge (named after the Lady of the Mercians, who built a fort at Castlerock in Runcorn in 916 AD, the remnants of which were swept away when they built the bridge in the 1860s - hence the castellations on the bridge made in honour of the old Anglo-Saxon burgh) which stretches across the River Mersey to Widnes.  It is built of locally-quarried sandstone, which has stained different shades due to the smoke from the alkali & chemical factories on both sides of the Mersey.  I have set the diorama in the late 1890s or early 1900s, and this is why the "gantry wall" of the Manchester Ship Canal cuts between the shore and one of the supports of the bridge.  Right beside the bridge is Castlerock Yard, owned at one time by the LeCouteur family (who married into my own many years after that point).  At Castlerock is a barge under construction on their patent slipway (or marine railway as they call it in America and Canada), and a larger one alongside the small collection of huts that constitute the yard.  There is also a small boathouse, built on stilts, at the end of the slip.  Further east is Castlerock Wharf and Ferry Hut, where people purchased tickets for the ferry across the Mersey (which had existed since medieval times but by this time had to consist of two boats, with passengers scrambling over the gantry wall to get to the second).  The beach at Ferry Hut has two fishing smacks laid-up for repairs.  At the extreme east of the picture is the slipway for the open boat ferry.  Beyond this would be the Belvedere Shipyard (which I built in a previous project), and then other yards which were later subsumed into the Old Quay Yard (which I built a diorama of part of, as another submission).  On the Ship Canal is a brig with an auxiliary engine, steaming for sea on her return from Salford Docks in Manchester, about to round the bend beyond the railway bridge and pass Runcorn Docks (which are just down from Top Locks on the Bridgewater Canal, which is the subject of another of my previous submissions).  She has just passed a barquentine, which is tied-up at Old Quay Lock Wall.  In the river is a tug towing a train of barges to Liverpool, and a sloop, heading for Old Quay Lock to access the Ship Canal from whence the barges and tug have just left.  I left the western side of the bridge off so as to show a cutaway, revealing the steam train on her way to Liverpool from London (having just left Runcorn Station), and the footpath beside the tracks, which then cuts to the metal gantry outside of the metal girder frame of the central part of the bridge.  This section of the bridge has two shields on her (one nearest Runcorn bearing the arms of London, the one at the other side of the model being of Britannia, which gives the bridge her often-used alternate name, and there was a further one nearer Widnes with the badge of Liverpool).  The bridge also has a fog bell in the middle of the Mersey, to warn shipping of the bridge's location during low visibility.
I built this because I love where I am from and all of our rich history.
I think this sort of thing would be a great LEGO set as it uses basic bricks and is educational: Showing local landmarks and history.  This type of build can be applied to any town or city you like and I believe there would be interest in having such builds available for all the amazing places on the Earth.

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