Melbridge Dock is not based on a specific prototype, instead we cherry picked from lots of places and built things we particularly liked. With only six feet of scenery to play with the model was inevitably going to be a pastiche rather than a perfect recreation of a particular scene. Our motto has always been "It's my train set so I'll do what I like" and it is a hobby after all so we build what we enjoy as far as possible.
The track plan is based on one for a GWR station taken from a long forgotten magazine. The platforms were replaced by water and the proportions of the sidings were altered to suit.
The buildings are a collection of real prototypes with a modicum of alteration or "modellers licence" employed to give a representation of the different types seem in dockyards. They are unusual in model railway terms because they are so large. Each of the warehouses is 12 inches highs and over eighteen inches long. The decision to locate the layout on the England/Scotland border meant that stone would have been a strong candidate for an early warehouse with brick making an appearance later as transport links improved.
The brick warehouse is based on those found at Gloucester Docks, now a museum. Essentially all the warehouses here were repetitions of the single unit pictured. Our models uses four units but this makes it a very short building, ten or more was more common but that would make for a dull layout !
On the right you see one of the buildings as they were when we started the model. Nowadays the whole area has been spruced up and looks prettier, if not as authentic.
Plans of warehouses are rare but you can make a pretty good guess at proportions by counting bricks (if you have time and extremely good eyesight) or working on each floor being roughly seven feet high. We mocked our buildings up using cheap cardboard before creating the final models in Daler board.
If you fancy visiting Gloucester Docks, they have a very informative website.
Much of our inspiration came from a single book, History of Gloucester Docks in the County Library Series which is well worth a read if you are interested in the subject.
Nottingham Canal Museum
Another brick warehouse is shown here, this time from Nottingham. Although we have not used this style on the layout, it is an attractive style and would make a nice model. Sadly the museum has long since closed down but you can still visit the site as it's now a pub.
Originally we pressed a Wills kit into service as a yard crane based on this prototype at Nottingham. These cranes were a standard item and could be seen at many locations. Warehouse cranes varied enormously from the simple beams used on our brick warehouse through angular swing out numbers to the ornate cast iron versions sold by people like Langley Models.
Other buildings are collected from elsewhere. The Harbormasters office is famously from Weymouth and is modeled using a plan from a Model Railway Constructor article from the 1960's. All I improved was the car in front, from an MG to a Beetle.
I've even got a little tribute building. The wooden hut on the quayside is a straight copy from Henry Hollingsworth's 16mm layout as seen several times in the Railway Modeller magazine. I was looking for something to fill a spot on our model, saw this and though "That's it". I'm sure the Lynton & Barnstaple origins aren't evident !