Building Name

Customs House and Warehouse Payta Peru

1854 - 1855
Gibbs Bright and Co. London
Prefabricated design
E T Bellhouse and Company

IRON HOUSE BUILDING. -  Custom House for Payta, in Peru - Great progress has of late years been made in this country, in the construction of iron buildings. They have been adapted to domestic, commercial, and even religious purposes, and exported chiefly, but not exclusively, to our colonies. Dwelling houses, stores, and churches, have all found their way from this land, to be planted on distant sites, where labour is either less skilled or more costly. Messrs E. T. Bellhouse and Co., of Manchester, have constructed a Custom house, intended for Payta, in Peru, and an extensive warehouse, or store, having the same destination. The Manchester Examiner gives the following particulars of the Custom house: - The structure is a quadrangle of 70 feet square, and consists of two principal stories, but is by no means limited to this in height, for there rises from the centre a circular tower, standing on a platform 22J feet square; and above this, a second round tower, surmounted by a cupola, pierced by a flagstaff, from which floats a union jack, the height from the top of the flagstaff to the ground being 100 feet. The erection is now put together in a temporary manner, so as to give assurance of its being perfect in all its parts. When placed on its intended distant site, it will rest upon several courses of brickwork, with stone blocks beneath the main supports. A cast iron moulded base runs round the foot of the entire building. The first, or ground story, is 12 feet high, having on each of its four sides six strong iron pilasters, in addition to the one at each angle. The space between the pilasters is filled with corrugated galvanized iron, of the thickness known as No. 16 of the Birmingham wire gauge. The corrugations are vertically arranged, and each 5 inches broad. The front entrance is through a door 6 feet wide, having a window immediately on each side of it, giving access and light to a spacious passage through the building, 13 feet in breadth, there being a similar door and pair of windows at the other extremity of the passage. In addition to the windows lighting the passage, there are four other windows in front, two on each side the entrance, whose height is 8 feet, and breadth 4 feet. The casements open inwards, and have guards of iron rods externally. A cast metal moulded string course finishes the top of the first story, immediately over which is a balcony, projecting 6 feet 6 inches from the face of the building on each of its four sides. The outer edge of this continuous promenade is protected by a wrought iron railing, having a casting of the arms of Peru in the centre of each separate piece. On entering the broad passage, there are four rooms branch from it on each side, thus furnishing eight apartments, besides a transverse passage, 6 feet wide, from which rises a metal staircase. On reaching the second story, the passages are of the same dimensions as those beneath, but the rooms are divided into offices half the size, so there are eight on each side the principal avenue - in all sixteen; and each set has a direct internal communication the one with the other, without coming into the passage. The outer windows are the same in the upper as in the lower story, and the pilasters are also continued from the ground to the top of the second story. There are also neat folding doors leading to the surrounding balcony. The roof, which is also of corrugated iron, stretches over the walls (if we may so call them) to the extent of 7 feet, forming a verandah above the balcony, so as to shelter it from sun and rain. The verandah is supported by open metal cantilevers, and near its under edge it is strengthened by a cast iron ornamental drop. On ascending the third staircase, we reach a floor in the roof. From the level of this floor to the springing of the roof, there is a distance of about 5 feet; and the roof, instead of finishing in a ridge or apex, terminates in a platform, 22J feet square, and this platform is 14 feet above the floor beneath it. The platform is supported by eight strong metal columns, which are square to the top of the second story, but circular in the roof, where they are attached to wooden beams, which constitute the framework of the platform. A moulding of cast iron forms the boundary of the platform, with ornamental railing; and from the central part rises a round tower, also of corrugated metal, 15 feet in height, and 15 feet diameter. It is strengthened vertically by four upright T irons, and rests on a moulded base, firmly attached to the platform, and to secure it still more firmly, there are four tie rods within, attached transversely. It is lighted by four windows, and has one door leading to the outer platform, which forms a second balcony, and will be covered with lead. From this tower a large clock dial will be visible, the works being by Mr J. Bailey, and it is in course of being put into operation. On the top of this tower is a strong flooring, from which rises a smaller tower, 8 feet 6 inches in diameter, and 9 feet high, terminating with a cupola, surmounted by a cast iron ornament, having an aperture in its centre, through which is placed a flag staff, from which waves a union jack Around the upper tower, which is pierced with four windows, there is also a gallery, protected by hand railing. The entire height of the building is a little over 77 feet. The partitions between the various rooms and offices are constructed, in the first place, of a timber skeleton; this is covered on each side with boards; then pasted over with paper - on this is a coating of felt; and lastly hung with paper. We understand it is built to the order of Messrs Gibbs, Bright, and Co., London. These buildings have been executed by Messrs Edward T. Bellhouse and Co., under the superintendence of Mr Edward Woods, C. E. The architectural details have been arranged by Mr Edward Salomons, architect, of Manchester. 

Reference           The Year book of Facts in Science and Art By John Timbs. Published 1855. Lockwood & Co. [etc.]   Page 54-55