The Bell Dock

The bell dock was created to serve the ships of the military arsenal and the Esteiro shipyards which needed an adequate infrastructure for the times. It was inaugurated in 1879 with the drydocking of the frigate ship Victoria. The military engineer General Andrés Avelino Comerma y Batalla, born in Valls (Tarragona), designed the bell dock and adapted its peculiar structure to the ship repair processes of the period. The bell dock in Ferrol´s arsenal was built using masonry and was the biggest in the world and the best hydraulic works in Spain in the 19th century. It is in fact an inverted granite hill, 145 metres in length, 27 metres wide and 12 metres deep. 1,200 workers took part in its five-year construction. Some 200 women were employed to remove the rubble and stones which they carried on their backs in enormous baskets.

In addition to its grandeur, it also stands out for its ingeniousness. A peculiar ship-door closes the entrance to the dock, efficiently taking advantage of the movement of tides.

Since its inauguration, over 2,500 ships have drydocked here and the dock is still in use today, which gives us a clear idea of the quality of its construction.