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Diving

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Flash
63451.  Sun Apr 02, 2006 3:30 pm Reply with quote

We ought to be able to come up with a better question than this; in fact maybe the way into the topic is from some completely different angle - but this is a pretty good anecdote, if only for the notes:

How did a diver save Winchester Cathedral?
or
How did the diver save the cathedral?
or something.

Winchester Cathedral is built on a reed bed, and its foundations stand on beech logs driven into the peat. At the beginning of the 20th century the cathedral had to be underpinned because it was subsiding, and the work was carried out by a diver named William Walker. He worked six hours a day from 1906 to 1912 under the cathedral, underwater, at depths of up to 6m and in total darkness, packing the foundations with concrete and bricks. He is credited with saving the cathedral from total collapse.

There's a statue of a diver in the retrochoir to commemorate him (although it was actually modelled on another diver, not Walker). For an account of his feat, see The Winchester Diver by Ian T. Henderson and John Crook.

 
Flash
63505.  Sun Apr 02, 2006 6:58 pm Reply with quote

I've seen it stated that the ancient Assyrians swam under water breathing from goat skins full of air c1500 BC. Fred, do we believe that? It doesn't sound possible, because a) they wouldn't be airtight and b) you wouldn't be able to submerge them or yourself because they'd be buoyant. Does it ring any bells, though?

Speaking of bells, Sir Edmund Halley perfected the diving bell in 1706; also a mini-bell which went over the head, called the 'cap of maintenance'. The bell was replenished by means of lead-lined barrels of air dropped from the surface. Some kind of link to the 'vomit comet', you would think?

'The bends' is caused by nitrogen bubbles in the blood. For deep diving divers breathe a mixture of helium, nitrogen and oxygen.

 
eggshaped
142100.  Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:22 am Reply with quote

Flash Said:
Quote:
I've seen it stated that the ancient Assyrians swam under water breathing from goat skins full of air c1500 BC. Fred, do we believe that? It doesn't sound possible, because a) they wouldn't be airtight and b) you wouldn't be able to submerge them or yourself because they'd be buoyant. Does it ring any bells, though?


I think you're spot on with your reading of this Flash, according to this site from the snappily named Minewarfare and Clearance Diving Officers' Association:

Quote:

For many years, an Assyrian frieze (900 BC) in the British Museum was thought to depict an underwater warrior breathing air from a goatskin lashed underneath himself. However, closer inspection reveals this to have been a flotation device kept inflated via a breathing tube by the user – the world’s first example of water wings!


OK, so it's not the first SCUBA equipment, but the first armbands are interesting enough in my book, so it goes into SQUIRE.

(Sadly, I can't find a pic of said frieze on the web.)

 

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