Charlestown, St Austell

In December 2021, part of a cliff face at Charlestown Harbour in Saint Austell collapsed due to a landslide, endangering life and property.

Rapid supply and deliver saves popular filming location

Charlestown Harbour in St Austell, Cornwall, is a Grade II listed harbour and UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers breath-taking views and tall ships that attract thousands of visitors each year.

Built in the 1700s, the harbour has provided the backdrop for many films and TV programmes, including Poldark, Dr Who, The Personal History of David Copperfield and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

Concrete repairs specialist Gunite and Shotcrete Services were brought in to make the repairs on behalf of Alun Griffiths Civil Engineering & Construction. The teams initially considered a wet spray method but as the equipment needed for this posed logistical problems, it was decided that a dry spray approach was the better option. Gunite and Shotcrete Services contacted Saint-Gobain Weber to request the urgent supply of 6,000 bags of webercem spray DS to Charlestown in five days’ time to help save the remaining cliff and make the area safe.

A 10mm steel mesh was fixed to the rock face with rock anchors before the webercem spray DS was applied to secure the remaining cliff face using a dry spray system specially designed for the job.

The dry spray process conveys a predetermined ratio of cement and aggregate without added water. The mixture is fed into a purpose-designed machine, pressurised, and introduced to a high velocity air stream. The product is delivered through neoprene hoses to the spraying nozzle where it is atomised with clean water and hydrated to the correct consistency to project the material at high velocity into place. The material was applied up to a meter deep in places.

Due to the urgency of the situation, the work was completed with two pumps and two nozzlemen working together over a weekend, to return the harbour to a stable and safe condition.

The project was completed in just one weekend in December 2021.

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