BNC Text H5G

Suffolk Sound Archive: interview. Sample containing about 16701 words speech recorded in leisure context

2 speakers recorded by respondent number C314

PS22C X f (No name, age unknown) unspecified
PS22D Ag5 m (George, age 77, retired) unspecified

1 recordings

  1. Tape 093201 recorded on 1987-03-02. LocationSuffolk: Ipswich () Activity: interview

Undivided text

(PS22C) [1] This is Aural History Project tape number one of Mr .
[2] My name is , the date is the second of March nineteen eighty seven.
[3] This is interview number five of Ipswich Docks.
[4] ... before we talk about your working life at Ipswich Docks, could you tell me where you were born.
George (PS22D) [5] Well I was born at
George (PS22D) [6] and erm I went to school at then at the later part of my life I went to Hemel Hempstead and then I left only for four months and went to er work for an ironmonger at ten shillings a week.
[7] I worked for a month [cough] then I went to the dyers and cleaners and I came home to Ipswich in the, on the Easter time and I started work as a turnboy on the dredger at Ipswich at thirty five shillings a week for fi sixty six and a half hours a week, starting from Monday morning at six o'clock to six o'clock Monday night.
(PS22C) [8] Can I just go back to
George (PS22D) [9] Yes.
(PS22C) [10] is that ?
George (PS22D) [11] yes.
(PS22C) [12] Where is that?
George (PS22D) [13] Pardon?
(PS22C) [14] Where is it?
George (PS22D) [15] [...] down at the bottom of opposite the .
(PS22C) [16] I see.
(PS22C) [17] Wh when were you born?
George (PS22D) [18] I was born on the twenty eighth of December nineteen ten.
(PS22C) [19] Can you remember anything of the area in your early childhood?
George (PS22D) [20] Yeah I was called a roamer [...] find me.
(PS22C) [21] Where did you used to roam?
George (PS22D) [22] I used to roam all just round the country, round this area, which was all fields at that time and when you got at top, top of you were more or less in the country.
(PS22C) [23] Were there any houses about?
George (PS22D) [24] Pardon?
(PS22C) [25] Were there any houses about?
George (PS22D) [26] Oh yes they start, just start to build the er this estate.
(PS22C) [27] What, what estate is this?
George (PS22D) [28] Well this is, well they call this the
(PS22C) [cough]
George (PS22D) [29] part of the
(PS22C) [cough]
George (PS22D) [30] hasn't any proper name like this cos these are private houses and estate are council houses but the [...] built at top of was called the Old Plantation and the Old Plantation that's when the first houses were built then of course when you er find the company first started which er Old Plantation is right opposite erm and when you came along past you then branched off to that's all fields and you came down as far as and then you branched off to .
[31] [...] of what they call, that we call the .
(PS22C) [32] What were the ?
George (PS22D) [33] Well were just the, all just common ground owned by they own all that ground.
(PS22C) [34] What was the like?
George (PS22D) [35] well that's where [...] all rough grass and like erm like erm gorse bushes and ferns.
(PS22C) [36] Did that run down to the river?
George (PS22D) [37] Yes it did it run down to the river and we used to have to write to to get a permit to camp on there for the week but then there used to be an old, the old foreman of he used to come round every Saturday night, have you got your permit?
[38] If you hadn't you had to clear off and that's when we used to make a tent out of anything, old sacks, bits of tarpaulin, anything then it's covered over with erm [...] .
(PS22C) [39] How long would you camp up there?
George (PS22D) [40] For about a week.
(PS22C) [41] This was dur
George (PS22D) [cough]
(PS22C) [42] this was during the school holidays was it?
George (PS22D) [43] [...] school holidays we only used to get a month they get about six weeks now I think but no we used to get a month's holiday then.
(PS22C) [44] Was that in the summer?
George (PS22D) [45] In the summer time August, August was the erm was the month's holiday. [cough]
(PS22C) [46] Did you have any other school holidays?
George (PS22D) [47] No only at Easter and Whitsun, Christmas.
(PS22C) [48] How long did you
George (PS22D) [49] We [...] used to have a week that's all.
(PS22C) [50] What else did you do in your holidays?
George (PS22D) [51] I do anything, roam about, go harvesting on the harvest fields.
(PS22C) [52] Go harvesting?
George (PS22D) [53] Yeah catching rabbits [...] a hedge and cut down a stick you know [...] at the corn on the old [...] and if we were lucky we used to get erm we used to er seat the old fella on the boiler and have a ride round on one of the horses.
(PS22C) [54] Did you ride on the horse's back?
George (PS22D) [55] Yeah we used to just put an old sack on and [...] more or less bareback.
(PS22C) [56] The farmer never minded?
George (PS22D) [57] No he didn't mind no.
(PS22C) [58] Did you catch many rabbits?
George (PS22D) [59] Oh yeah plenty and we caught them all but we weren't allowed to keep them.
(PS22C) [60] Why not?
George (PS22D) [61] No well we used to kill them with a stick but of course they used to lay the rabbits out at that time to see how many they caught cos that was a little bit of perks for the farm labourers they used to buy a rabbit for sixpence, then they go up to ninepence for a rabbit.
[62] Now today I suppose they are about eighty pence something like that.
(PS22C) [63] So they didn't mind you catching them [...] ?
George (PS22D) [64] Well they didn't mind catching them [...] that these here gamekeepers they come on more or less at the finish of the harvest over the field with the guns [...] what was left.
(PS22C) [65] You went to school in Ipswich?
George (PS22D) [66] I went to school at ordinary time from as a kid and then up to till you're about eight years old, then from eight years [...] eight, nine, then you, I went to for about last four years.
(PS22C) [67] Did you say school?
George (PS22D) [68] school.
(PS22C) [69] Where is that?
George (PS22D) [70] Well school is just down, was down, near the gasworks.
(PS22C) [71] You say was, is it no longer there?
George (PS22D) [72] No that's not that school.
(PS22C) [73] What was the school like?
George (PS22D) [74] Hard.
(PS22C) [75] Hard?
George (PS22D) [76] Yes.
(PS22C) [77] What the lessons you mean?
George (PS22D) [78] I mean they'd, they'd, I mean the lessons and if you done anything wrong well you get, you get the cane and anything else.
(PS22C) [79] What sort of thing did you have to do wrong to get the cane?
George (PS22D) [80] Oh anything, if you was talking in the classroom that was the cane.
(PS22C) [81] You got the cane for actually talking?
George (PS22D) [82] Oh yeah talking [...] yeah.
(PS22C) [83] Did you get the cane often?
George (PS22D) [84] No not very often.
(PS22C) [85] What sort of lessons did you have, did
George (PS22D) [86] What lessons, anything arithmetic, mental arithmetic, dictation which I was bad at, my school report was about fair, fair, fair, poor, poor, poor, that's what mine was, I only got about one excellent.
(PS22C) [87] Did you do any practical lessons?
George (PS22D) [88] Pardon?
(PS22C) [89] Did you have any practical lessons?
George (PS22D) [90] Yes we went to erm we used to go through the, the manual for woodwork.
(PS22C) [...]
George (PS22D) [91] No it was what they called the manual that's for learning woodwork, that was once a week.
(PS22C) [92] What was the manual?
George (PS22D) [93] Well that was er plane the bit of wood, learn to plane the bit of wood straight or saw the wood straight and then there is a little, the iron part of it was where you made little [...] any little bits of iron them there to make pretty patterns on it.
[94] We had two or three years like that from when you was about ten until you was fourteen and that was in
(PS22C) [...]
George (PS22D) [95] that was in the place called .
George (PS22D) [96] , that was in the middle, more or less in the middle of the town.
(PS22C) [97] And you called that the manual?
George (PS22D) [98] The manual school, yes.
(PS22C) [99] You went up there purposely just for woodwork?
George (PS22D) [100] That's right, yes.
(PS22C) [...]
George (PS22D) [101] Say about, about half a day a week.
[102] That's all you went for.
(PS22C) [103] Did other schools use
George (PS22D) [104] Cos all the other schools they filled in the rest part of the week.
(PS22C) [105] So you were all different schools?
George (PS22D) [106] All the different schools had er cos then we had, used to compete against er [...] all sports and we used to get an afternoon football we used to march from up to the and erm play football but we didn't go up there until at half-time at erm play-time so they went to school at two o'clock and at half past three then that'd be our break, then we'd go up to erm football till five o'clock.
(PS22C) [107] Was five o'clock your usual finishing time?
George (PS22D) [108] Usual finishing time at school five o'clock.
(PS22C) [109] What time did you start in the morning?
George (PS22D) [110] At eight o'clock.
[111] We start our school at eight o'clock, at nine o'clock it used to be prayers in the hall.
(PS22C) [112] They were long days?
George (PS22D) [113] They were long days at school.
(PS22C) [114] How old were you then?
George (PS22D) [115] How old was I then, nine or ten.
(PS22C) [116] And then from that school you went on to another one?
George (PS22D) [117] I went to Hemel Hempstead [...] er a school called in Hemel Hempstead that was only from the August till December when I left school and then the erm then the Headmistress, cos we had a Headmistress there cos it was a mixed school, and she recommended me for this here errand boy's job, his name was .
(PS22C) [118] You took the job?
George (PS22D) [119] Pardon?
(PS22C) [120] You took the job did you
George (PS22D) [121] I took the job yes, ten shillings a week.
(PS22C) [122] Where was this?
George (PS22D) [123] That was in Hemel Hempstead.
(PS22C) [124] Did you like it?
George (PS22D) [125] No I didn't cos I was on, I used to be on a oil card delivering paraffin oil round the countryside and then cos I used to stink apparently and then I got this job at er on a pushbike
(PS22C) [cough]
George (PS22D) [126] unclear lot cleaner, I got ten shillings from them and a shilling from the next door for cleaning their windowsill every morning.
[127] That's a small little homemade bakers then on the on the Easter
(PS22C) [128] Thank you
George (PS22D) [129] My father come to see me at [...] one holiday and the Easter time he see something happen and they didn't like him and cos all my [...] as cabin boy.
(PS22C) [130] So you came straight back to Ipswich?
George (PS22D) [131] Come straight back to Ipswich
(PS22C) [132] And you then started work?
George (PS22D) [133] I started work on the dredger.
(PS22C) [134] Mm mm what did your, what did your father do when you were a child?
George (PS22D) [135] Pardon?
(PS22C) [136] What was your father's occupation?
George (PS22D) [137] Oh he was on the river he he was always connected with the river my father and in the First World War they towed the dredger from here to Ramsgate and er he was, he was in the Army but he was connected to the Inland Water Transport and cos they were dredging out the harbour at Ramsgate.
[138] I have known him to come home [...] he's had a weekend off with a kitbag full of fish, beautiful fish he used to bring home cos [...] no sooner on the train and right home
(PS22C) [139] Mm mm
George (PS22D) [140] and they all come home lovely and fresh, plaice and different types of fish.
(PS22C) [141] And that all used to end up on your dinner plate?
George (PS22D) [142] That did yes.
(PS22C) [143] [laugh] Was your father a dredgerman then?
George (PS22D) [144] He was a dredgerman yes, see he was on the river first then he went on the dredger and course that's before my time and that was during the First World War he was on he was at Ramsgate.
[145] Course then he finished, they finished dredging at night on, at nineteen thirty two cos they said it was costing too much the [...] did and erm they were building some new cranes down there, so I said to my father, and he was very friendly with the Harbourmaster, he said erm was there any chance of getting one of them cranes so when he went and saw the Harbourmaster he said no he said the boy don't know nothing about electricity either so he said no nor did no other buggers he said they didn't know anything about it so he got the job.
[146] He didn't want to know anything he wanted to drive the crane so he give me a start.
(PS22C) [147] [...] so when you started at the dock, you started as what?
George (PS22D) [148] I started as a cabin boy on the dredger.
(PS22C) [149] What did that involve?
George (PS22D) [150] Well [...] that erm keeping the galley fire [...] which I let out several times.
(PS22C) [151] Was it a coal fire?
George (PS22D) [152] Coal fire and er scrubbed the cabin out like that, soda water and soft soap.
(PS22C) [153] When you let the fire out did you get into trouble?
George (PS22D) [154] Yeah I just swore at my father [...] did well I said getting up at six o'clock in the morning every day and then go to work till six at night cos during the day I get tired so I use to lay down on his bunk ... then he'd lift his little hat a way up and he'd say er [...] bloody fire's out.
[155] Cos he'd want a cup of tea.
(PS22C) [156] So you cooked on the fire as well?
George (PS22D) [157] Yeah cooked, we done everything on the fire
(PS22C) [158] Mm mm
George (PS22D) [159] yeah old galley stove, galley oven just like the old fashioned oven it was, so you had your full hearth and used to bake in the oven and of course you cook on the top, and you had about five different rings cos the fire is to put the damper in the chimney to make the heat go round the oven. [cough]
(PS22C) [160] You used to cook all your own meals on that?
George (PS22D) [161] Do all our own meals yes, my mother she used to mix up, to say that we want er suet pudding and erm she had mixed up ready and put the cloth on top and all I got to do is just boil the water and just stick it in.
(PS22C) [162] That was handy then.
George (PS22D) [163] She used to make me a [...] plum duff, the old currant duffs and [...] anything like that my mother would make for us.
(PS22C) [164] You never went hungry on board then?
George (PS22D) [165] Never went hungry, no my mother always have a good, always used to have a good table, very good, we were a very lucky family, anybody used to come in our house on a weekend they always thought there was a party every weekend.
[166] Well my father was earning a good money.
[167] I mean women, men in the warehouse they were on about two guineas a week.
[168] Now my father was earning five pounds seven and six, twelve and six a week so there was a big difference in money weren't there and then you see be that list when they finished dredging he had to drop right back two pounds thirteen a week.
(PS22C) [169] What else did you do just as a cabin boy ?
George (PS22D) [170] What else if I, I have to go and relieve er if I want er to only work down the cabin and it come to meal times cos we carried on dredging from six in the morning we do al all the winters round cos they eat on the dredger they used to eat three winches four winches on the dredger cos they'd heave the dredger across the river and back again,wo when they come to meal times I used to have to go on and relieve the man what was driving that winch and I used t cos the er er chins coming round the barrel of the winch they used to override and I used to have a handle to knock them clear.
(PS22C) [171] Why did you have to knock them clear?
George (PS22D) [172] Well if you didn't there'd be so much change on the bail that they all start to fall off and there'd be all one big muddle cos that and as chain coming down that used to come right down into the chain locker to the bottom of the ships.
(PS22C) [173] What was the chain locker?
George (PS22D) [174] Well a chain locker is where all the spare chain used to like coil up
(PS22C) [175] So it [...] came in and it went round
George (PS22D) [176] round the barrel about three times round the barrel then right down into the chain locker but if you kept, let it ride what we used to call let it ride well [...] well now it get so big then you have to run it all off cos you had one lever, that's what you had and the steam valve could have all steamed.
(PS22C) [177] All the machinery was
George (PS22D) [178] All steam.
(PS22C) [179] operated by steam
George (PS22D) [180] All re even the engine room was steam cos you had the bucket [...] depth of dredging on that ladder was thirty six feet that's what [...] dredger can go down so far with the buckets going round and they used to dredge about thirty six feet.
(PS22C) [181] Actually go down and thirty six foot of water?
George (PS22D) [182] Down yes.
(PS22C) [183] Dredge down?
George (PS22D) [184] Could do yes.
(PS22C) [185] What do you mean by the ladder?
George (PS22D) [186] The ladder is where the buckets er er run on you see [...] that's the ladder like that from what they call the top tumbler what used to be the top tumbler used to have five sides
(PS22C) [187] What do you mean by tumbler?
George (PS22D) [188] Well a tumbler is where they, the buckets used to go over the top and empty into a chute into the hopper ... and er went cos it was on a continual chain you see cos you had a bucket two links, a bucket two links, a bucket two links, all the way round and that's how you used to dredge all the time round and round and round and that's how it went over to the top tumbler cos you had a bottom tumbler on this layer and a top tumbler, otherwise [...] you couldn't dredge otherwise and that top tumbler, I am certain it had five, five sides to it because at one, at one time you'd tip a bucket on one then you'd get two lengths [...] so it kept the tumbler more or less equal all the way round the wear and tear of it.
(PS22C) [189] And so that, would you lower the, the ladder into the water?
George (PS22D) [190] Yeah you'd lower that down.
[191] My father used to have what they call a lead line that used to be a wire with a all marked with feet and fathoms on and [...] sound and [...]
(PS22C) [192] So you had to
George (PS22D) [193] And then when you dredged across [...] again cos you used t you always went er, you always had er er say every foot he had with a piece of spunyarn in the wire
(PS22C) [194] Spunyarn?
George (PS22D) [195] Spunyarn, yes
(PS22C) [196] What's spunyarn?
George (PS22D) [197] Well that's like er tarred rope [cough] that's what it was and er used to put a piece through the wire every foot and when you come to six feet there'd be a piece of leather, cut in cut [...] one piece of leather.
[198] Then you had this next fathom, the second fathom had the leather [...] cut in two and then have different colours at every feet as well.
(PS22C) [199] And this, so these were attached to what?
George (PS22D) [200] Just a bit of wire.
(PS22C) [201] Just a piece of wire?
George (PS22D) [202] And of course he used have it in his hand in a loop and he used to top it over the side with a big lead weight on and that [...] and he, he'd know how much deep the er river was.
(PS22C) [203] Was that recognised tools [...]
George (PS22D) [204] Pardon?
(PS22C) [205] What that a recognised tool for judging the depth?
George (PS22D) [206] Oh yes yes you [...] out of that yes.
[207] See and then in the finish they went on the wire, they went to chain.
(PS22C) [208] And how did they use chains?
George (PS22D) [209] Well they chain just the same way, just marks on it and
(PS22C) [210] Was there any benefit in changing over to chain?
George (PS22D) [211] Well I think there's [...] the stretching of it you see, I mean wire w after a certain time it would stretch a bit
(PS22C) [212] Yes.
George (PS22D) [213] where a chain wouldn't, that'd wear a little bit but not too much.
(PS22C) [214] So as a cabin boy you had to relieve
George (PS22D) [215] I had to relieve, relieve the other deck hands for their meals and I started cleaning their cabin out as well.
(PS22C) [216] Did they all have their own cabins?
George (PS22D) [217] Well they had one big long one, they did.
(PS22C) [218] And you had to clean
George (PS22D) [219] And I had to clean them and I had to [...] get a bucket of water and sluice it down with a hard broom and [...] .
[220] I used to go down the villages.
(PS22C) [221] Into the villages?
George (PS22D) [222] Yeah.
(PS22C) [223] What are the villages?
George (PS22D) [224] The villages are at the bottom of the ship.
[225] Cos then you come to your floor and then your sides used to go up [...] villages on a ship.
(PS22C) [226] And was the water there to go down into the villages?
George (PS22D) [227] Yes, cos they usually all water underneath there and that used to be pumped out, every so often the engine room would pump all that out and to heat any water up [...] the cabins there used to be a, a small pump what used to pump the fresh water into the boiler and I used to have a [...] a piece of er copper [...] off that and just turn the steam on a little bit put it into a bucket of cold water and then instead of driving the pump that'd go into the, the er bucket and heat the water and boil it.
(PS22C) [228] And that was your own invention was it?
George (PS22D) [229] Yes.
[230] But the hoppers they used to be, er two hoppers we had two of them hoppers, we had the er one called the
(PS22C) [...]
George (PS22D) [231] [phonecall starts] Hello, hello girl, yes please a dozen, yeah, er no I don't think so, no I don't think so mate, no, yeah are you on holiday this week?
[232] Oh well might have perhaps [...] will you have a spare day ... No I [...] want to go out for a meal ... No, but I been home [...] but at dinner time just [...] .
[233] Yeah alright [...] yeah [...] I mean if your car's in you can take mine do it a bit of good.
[234] Right oh see you later.
[235] Cheerio [phonecall ends] .
[236] That's John, me boy, he's a docker down the erm down the dock he got a weeks holiday this week, so I took me other boy and me daughter out [...] last week and erm we'd left her with dogs so I said we'd take them out one day perhaps when he get his holiday.
(PS22C) [237] Oh I see so you are going out with him later on?
George (PS22D) [238] Yeah [...] he'll see what his wife say.
(PS22C) [239] [laugh] You say he's a docker?
George (PS22D) [240] He's a docker.
(PS22C) [241] Actually handling the cargo?
George (PS22D) [242] Well he drive these, they don they don't handle much now.
[243] They erm, what they do they drive these big Tugmasters now with these lorries so that they plant all these erm forty foot trailers with er with er erm with a container on and place them on the ship.
[244] So they load the ships down there now.
(PS22C) [245] Oh like the roll on roll off
George (PS22D) [246] Roll on, exactly yeah.
(PS22C) [247] ferry?
George (PS22D) [248] That's right, yeah.
(PS22C) [249] It's a lot easier now isn't it?
George (PS22D) [250] Oh it is a lot easier cos that all they have to do is run on, drop 'em come off again.
(PS22C) [251] Going back to your life as cabin boy, what other duties did you have to perform?
George (PS22D) [252] On the [...] .
[253] Well [...] shipping Angus, so you know when the dredgers go on er er er creeping ahead, see we used to have er what we call the head wire there used to be a wire which was all stretched out say about half a mile and what you s and erm and all according what erm how much mud you were dredging for the depth of water and then my father would give the signal to say right, cos on the, on the head wire used to have a pull, we call the pulls and they were like er a jutted piece off the wheel and he'd say five pulls ahead and we'd say one two three four five right and we went ahead with it and then when we were dredging sidewards you see, used to [...] sidewards, you never went ahead with it, not all the time you c you [...] went sidewards across the river, and erm once you got [...] ahead your side chains they [...] moving up cos you got so far ahead th that the side chains weren't much good to you, so you had to then move your side chains so you got a little off the mud in an old boat and then re [...] further up the river.
(PS22C) [254] You say pick your anchors up in an old boat?
George (PS22D) [255] Yes.
[256] You see well the point was when you pick 'em up erm we had a sm we had a big boat, what we called hanger boat, a very heavy boat and that used to have a wooden [...] so therefore we used to pull it up by hand and pull it ove on a little barrel with a hand power that's what we used to do and once we got the anchor in board we'd pull the chain in by hand and then rerun it again right on to the mud and on the anchor again.
(PS22C) [257] So you actually had to go on to a smaller boat?
George (PS22D) [258] Smaller boat, yes.
(PS22C) [259] Go up and get the anchor
George (PS22D) [260] That's right
(PS22C) [261] and pull it in to the small boat?
George (PS22D) [262] Pull it in to the small boat, lay it on a box and then we'd pull the chain in by hand and then we'd rerun it further up the river.
(PS22C) [263] Why did you do that?
George (PS22D) [264] Well [...] I mean if you er, if your chain was going too far astern you might pull the dredger astern too much so gotta keep your chain up the river, that's what you go got to do all the time.
(PS22C) [265] So that was your job as well?
George (PS22D) [266] That was my, that was part of our job.
(PS22C) [267] Wasn't that hard work?
George (PS22D) [268] That was hard work all the time, my hands [...] my hands used to chap on the backs, used to chap hands and that was only, I was over the wind, I [...] wind and, and er when I used to scrub the cabin out which was with washing soda and soft soap and when you went along cos that was you get, you get erm, ordinary washing soda on the back of your hands and they didn't supply [...] anything then.
[269] The docker ... docker mission wouldn't supply you with water boots [...] we had to supply our own, now today they supply them with everything even underlinen I think nearly now.
(PS22C) [270] [laughing] What was the wages like [] ?
George (PS22D) [271] Our wages?
(PS22C) [272] As a cabin boy?
George (PS22D) [273] Well I got thirty five shillings a week and I was doing six hou twelve hours a day from Monday till Friday and twelve and a half on a Saturday.
(PS22C) [274] And how old were you?
George (PS22D) [275] Fourteen years old.
(PS22C) [276] Was that good money for a fourteen year old?
George (PS22D) [277] That was good wages then [...]
(PS22C) [cough]
George (PS22D) [278] Apprentice apprentice boys in th in the foundry were only getting five shillings a week.
[279] Apprentice boy, my mate he er our friend dead and gone, he's a good turner that runs er er reels, yet erm that's all he got was five shillings a week after er no seven year's apprenticeship.
(PS22C) [280] So you were on really good money?
George (PS22D) [281] So I, I was earning good money. [clears throat]
(PS22C) [282] Do you think that's why they asked you to buy your own protective clothing or was that normal [...] [...] ?
George (PS22D) [283] unclear get to buy your own I, I er didn't have rubber boots, I had big leather boots up to me thigh, that's what I bought and that leather then they didn't have nails in the shoes in the, in the bottom they had wooden pegs, so that the, your leather was held by wooden pegs and the ... and the leather at that time were the thigh boots, you could roll them right the way down, [...] .
(PS22C) [284] Were they specially made?
George (PS22D) [285] Specially made, yes.
(PS22C) [286] Did you have them made in Ipswich?
George (PS22D) [287] No, we bought them all secondhand well they used to come round with this, not secondhand stuff but all new stuff and he used to go round the dock selling different er water boot socks and sweaters and he [...] dealer.
(PS22C) [288] How did he get round the docks?
George (PS22D) [289] Oh he used to have his pushbike, go round.
(PS22C) [290] What bicycle with a box on?
George (PS22D) [291] Yes, never had a motor car then, nobody had a motor car then only the Harbourmaster and he had a little old Austin Ruby, the Harbourmaster did, but other [...] duty Harbourmaster he had a motorbike and sidecar.
[292] He used to go to work on pushbike.
[293] He lived in at that time just over the road er down the road here and then something went wrong during the war [clears throat] that was over my father and er cos matter of fact when my father come off the dredger erm the Harbourmaster wanted to give him er he give him the push and turned round and he said [...] my father name was .
(PS22C) [294] ?
George (PS22D) [295] , that was his nickname and er he went into the office and he told the Harbourmaster he said if you don't employ back again he said I'm off and [...] out and he took me father back again.
(PS22C) [296] He got his job back?
George (PS22D) [297] He got his job back, you see, and erm
(PS22C) [298] Do you know why he was called ?
George (PS22D) [299] No I don't, no that was just a nickname they give him for years ago, matter of fact I [...] the other day, I was walking up [...] and he called me , so I took me father's name you see, nickname, that was [...] .
(PS22C) [300] [laughing] Extraordinary, isn't it [] ? [laugh]
George (PS22D) [301] And me other bro me other uncle he was called .
(PS22C) [302] So the nickname followed on really?
George (PS22D) [303] That followed on right through the family but my boys they haven't got that name, cos they older they, old [...] all gone now, old doctors and that.
(PS22C) [304] Going back to the man with the pushbike.
[305] Did he come round every week?
George (PS22D) [306] Oh yes, that was his living unclear
(PS22C) [307] So he, he was er
George (PS22D) [308] Anybody want anything he was there, his name was and he used to run up like er tally, tallyman he was you'd pay at the most ten shillings down about two and six a week, something like that.
(PS22C) [309] What credit?
George (PS22D) [310] Yes, so that's, he was round after his money every week.
(PS22C) [311] Oh I see and [...] got wh what sort of things did he sell?
George (PS22D) [312] I mean, he sell anything in the clothes line, anything.
[313] I know these boots we bought off him they were three pound twelve and six they were.
[314] I mean they were lovely boots ... I mean a pair of water boots three pounds twelve and six and we used to put them, er make 'em soft, we used to do them over with text oil.
[315] That was like er er what you call a linseed oil, they call is text that's some animal's erm oil I think out of the house and cos they used to, used to rub that in [...] and you could [...] them down lovely.
(PS22C) [316] Also made them waterproof as well?
George (PS22D) [317] Waterproof as well, yes.
(PS22C) [318] With the oil in them unclear
George (PS22D) [319] Yes.
(PS22C) [320] Did you have to wear any other sort of special clothing?
George (PS22D) [321] We, when we were dredging, we were dredging now from Cliff Quay and er used to get all this er grey mud and erm and the chalk and when we used to dredge, we got down to chalk er, more or less the depth we wanted to go and anybody dredging down there today if they dredge the chalk at Cliff Quay that's the depth of water you want and erm then we dredged erm just below erm [...] and then we went to Freston [cough] Freston we were dredging peat.
[322] Pondoes well you got Pondoes one side and you got Freston on the other and we were dredging up [...] .
[323] In that peat there used to be deer's teeth, everything, parts of the jaw, horns, what we were dredging up, then we went further down to erm Downham Reach, that's just before the Cattoes and we were dredging all green clay.
(PS22C) [324] Green clay?
George (PS22D) [325] Green clay we were dredging and sometimes you know that wouldn't leave the bucket.
[326] The clay wouldn't lea you couldn't clear the buckets, so we used to [...] what we had a grafting tool, that was like a spade but that was, er, that was er, narrow at one end, the spade at the bottom end was a bit narrow so you could cut th cut the [...] clay out of, out the buckets and that was a hard job too.
(PS22C) [327] That was difficult?
George (PS22D) [328] Yes.
(PS22C) [329] Was it your job to do that?
George (PS22D) [330] Well that was, that was the crew's job you see cos you used to have, they used to be erm, they used to be the master of the ship, my father, and they would still have a mate , he's dead and gone [clears throat] and there was myself one side on the starboard side on a winch and we had two men right aft on the after winch and they used to have to look after three chains.
[331] Cos you had a stern chain and two side chains.
[332] Because you had to have the stern anchor to keep the buckets off the face of what you was dredging cos if you didn't your dredge'd go ahead too much and er you had big problems there and you wouldn't be able to dredge. [cough]
(PS22C) [333] Did your dredger have a name?
George (PS22D)
(PS22C) [334] Just the
George (PS22D) [335] That was just the , yeah, dredger and th the tug was called er Nine 0, the Ninety.
[336] Then after that they bought another tug called , then they had another one called the , that was a diesel tug.
(PS22C) [337] What were the other tugs?
George (PS22D) [338] Er steam.
(PS22C) [339] Steam?
[340] And they ... sorry
George (PS22D) [341] Cos the the reason they, they er done away with the steam tugs and had a diesel, because a diesel you could start up and er when the dredging finished they tipped the tug at Ipswich and er if they want they [...] one of the big ships up the river, cos then they could start the diesel up quite, right away, whereby a steam tug you [...] a fire there all the time.
[342] I mean a steam tug you got to have coal and you got to have the old boiler, old boiler, you got to heat that up for the steam cos that didn't pay then.
[343] That was a, that was a [...] tug.
(PS22C) [344] Did the steam always work with the dredger?
George (PS22D) [345] Yes.
(PS22C) [346] What was that to move her about?
George (PS22D) [347] Well no, that's to, we had two what they call, two dumb hoppers the Roxanne and the Sandbank and those dumb hoppers had to be towed to sea and t take
(PS22C) [348] What do y what do you mean by dumb hopper?
George (PS22D) [349] Dumb hoppers well they ain't got any part, everything was hand.
(PS22C) [350] And why did you have them?
George (PS22D) [351] Well that's a, that's a thing of that particular day, at that time th th and life erm and then they get [...] what they call, they bought a steam hopper, so the steam hopper would say, could get to sea quicker in half the time the dumb hoppers could and so we were rotating all the time, there used to be one dumb hopper go to sea, one steam hopper and we'd be loading the other dumb hopper and then th course the steam hopper would be back in half the time we'd [...] that and that's how we rotate, day to day.
(PS22C) [352] By the hopper you mean carrying the soil?
George (PS22D) [353] Carrying, carrying all the soil to sea.
(PS22C) [354] Oh erm it was dumped at sea was it?
George (PS22D) [355] Yeah it was dumped at sea off the Cork, Cork Light ... erm Cork Lightship.
[356] They used to have an imaginary light er an imaginary mark from Cork Lightship to Walton on the Naze and er the men who bought the Cork Lightship, they would take notice every time that hopper went out there, they'd see when they were dumping cos if that was, if they were a bit cute, some of the boys, they'd dump a bit short of the dumping ground, that's what used to happen, cos they'd report them then to Harwich, Harwich will report them to Harbourmaster at Ipswich, then there'd be a [...] [clears throat]
(PS22C) [357] And who would get into trouble for that? [laugh]
George (PS22D) [358] Well the skipper of the hopper, he get into trouble for that cos he should have gone out to the dumping ground.
(PS22C) [359] And did that often happen?
George (PS22D) [360] Oh no that didn't, and [...] cos they got a good job, I mean five pound seven and six a week a skipper's earnings.
[361] The mate used to get erm on the dredger the tug and the two dumb hoppers, or the [...] dumb hoppers they used to get four pound five shillings a week [cough] and erm and my father got five pound twelve and six and then it went so long we were given near the end of the dredger and er in the Harbourmaster's wisdom he cut us all down five shillings a week, so we get three pound fifteen shillings.
(PS22C) [362] Why did he cut you down?
George (PS22D) [363] Well cos [...] they were getting short of money.
(PS22C) [364] When was this then?
George (PS22D) [365] This be about nineteen twenty nine.
(PS22C) [366] Wh why were they getting short of money? [laugh]
George (PS22D) [367] Well cos th the government had allowed them so much I suppose and erm that was costing them so much on wages and that, so they had to cut them down on wages.
(PS22C) [368] So this was a particular project just to [...] river?
George (PS22D) [369] That's right and er at that year, that er time, we had a drop of five shillings a week and he had an increase of fifty pound a year.
[370] Harbourmaster did.
(PS22C) [371] [laugh] How did that go down [...] ? [laugh]
George (PS22D) [372] Not very good.
[373] That's what he got that was little Irishman.
(PS22C) [374] Were there any problems because of that?
George (PS22D) [375] No we couldn't say nothing because I mean that was a time when you had a good job then, unemployment was just the same in the nineteen thirties.
[376] I mean nineteen thirty, thirty one was a bad time for [...] employment.
(PS22C) [377] So this job was coming to an end about this time?
George (PS22D) [378] That was yeah, that finished in nineteen thirty two.
(PS22C) [379] You were all a bit concerned I suppose?
George (PS22D) [380] We were, yes, cos that's when I went on to the crane driving [...] in for a crane and got it you see, that's why I finished up as a crane driver until I went stevedoring.
(PS22C) [381] So go going back to the dredging, did you eventually take over from your father on the dredger?
George (PS22D) [382] No, no, my father he finished his dredging [...] harbourmaster, and that's when they finished dredging then.
(PS22C) [383] What else did you have to do on the dredger?
George (PS22D) [384] Well anything what was going, anything, change the buckets, on the [...] [clears throat] that used to be every Saturday afternoons, they used to be home [...] .
[385] We used to work there from half past twelve till five o'clock at night, taking the bucket out and put another bucket in because the buckets what they used to call the bushes what were connected to the links they used to wear and we used to have to take them, one of them out and used to have a big chain go right the way round and bring the, bring the buckets backwards and they used to loosen up all the, all the pins what used to go through the buckets in the, in the links, so we took them out [clears throat] and then they used to go up to the dock and br they put new bushes in.
(PS22C) [386] Used to bring them up to the dock
George (PS22D) [387] Used to bring them up to the dock.
(PS22C) [388] and put them in a boat and bring them back?
George (PS22D) [389] Put them up in a boat yeah.
[390] They used to, cos they'd put a couple in the old anchor boat what we [...] weren't using it, put a couple in there and they'd tow 'em up to the dock. [cough]
(PS22C) [391] How would you get them into the boat, because they must have been heavy?
George (PS22D) [392] Well we had a old wooden crane aboard the dredger, [...] that was all hand power, that's just the old wooden derrick and when they got up to the, up to the dock, they had a, cos they had a [...] crane paint with it or a steam crane.
(PS22C) [393] And they used to come up to the maintenance workshop [...]
George (PS22D) [394] [...] maintenance workshop and be done, that used to be the job for the fitters and blacksmiths.
(PS22C) [395] Did you have to wait for it to be done?
George (PS22D) [396] No, no, cos we always had so many spare buckets you see.
(PS22C) [397] Oh you carried spares [...] .
[398] How large were the buckets?
George (PS22D) [399] I would say they be about erm three feet across.
[400] That's, that's [...] I'd say three feet across.
(PS22C) [401] And how deep?
George (PS22D) [402] Oh about erm three feet deep I reckon they were, I mean to load up er eight hundred tonnes, which we average these hoppers out at, er er we were getting a good soil we'd load up eight hundred tonne in an hour and a half to two hours, between hour and a half to two hours we'd be loaded, that's all depend on what you was dredging, you might be interested in [...] and, and go quicker, if you were dredging greenfly that's be alright you'd, if you dredged peat well that hopper would be full but it wouldn't be half lo it'd be half loaded you see, be half way down to the plimsoll mark.
(PS22C) [403] So, so much lighter?
George (PS22D) [404] That's lighter stuff.
(PS22C) [405] If you er dredged ballast, did you used to dump the ballast?
George (PS22D) [406] Yes that used to [...] but sometimes they used to bring it up the river and they use a lot [...] the ballast we er did dredge for erm, for the first part of Cliff Quay, used it when they built that. [cough]
(PS22C) [407] You remember Cliff Quay being developed?
George (PS22D) [408] I remember it yes.
[409] Well before I went to Hemel Hempstead, my father was dredging the first part of the quay at six hundred feet, what we call a six hundred feet, the first part and er I used to take his dinner down, because he'd, he wouldn't have anything cooked aboard the ship.
(PS22C) [410] Why was that?
George (PS22D) [411] I don't know but he wouldn't, he wouldn't have it cooked aboard there, my mother used to cook it for him and I'd stagger down in an ordinary shopping basket, in two basins there'd be vegetables in one and his pudding and gravy in the other and I used to take that down for him and he used to come ashore and he used to then go and have it.
[412] That weren that weren't far from to er Cliff Quay, do it in about ten minutes on your bike.
(PS22C) [413] How did you get out to the boat?
George (PS22D) [414] Well they used to have a little rowing boat and come after it, he used to get one of the lads [...] while they come ashore and got his dinner.
(PS22C) [415] Did they take you back or just the dinner?
George (PS22D) [416] No, they just t they just take the, the dinner back.
(PS22C) [417] Did you used to want to go over?
George (PS22D) [418] Oh I, I'd gone over several times, oh yes.
(PS22C) [419] [sneeze] Excuse me.
George (PS22D) [420] I got swore at many a time, I did.
[421] Well I tell you what I was doing, I was in the stern of the boat coming ashore with one oar in the stern of the boat, I was [...] like hell you know, and I was standing on the [...] sculling.
(PS22C) [422] On the
George (PS22D) [423] On the seats we'll call it, on the seats of the rowing boat, I was standing on that and my father said to me when I got aboard, don't do that no more, he said, cos he say if that paddle, what we call the paddle, come out of that sculling hole, he said you'll go over the side and the boat will go away from you, he said, you'll be bloody well drowned, which was right [...] never forgot it never.
[424] Now it was the truth, I mean when you scull the boat, they call that sculling, rowing, they usually do a figure of eight with one oar and a figure of eight, that's how you do that, that's a hard job to keep that into that here hole at the back of the boat, because
(PS22C) [425] Where was the hole then [...]
George (PS22D) [426] The hole on the stern of the boat, see you got your boat come round like that,
(PS22C) [427] From, from a point erm
George (PS22D) [428] From the point down to the stern of the boat and then there was a hole in there like that cut out of the wood.
(PS22C) [429] Just like your U shaped [...] .
George (PS22D) [430] That's right and put your paddle in that and you scull [...] you had to come down every time and many a time people'd learn that that paddle will come out, but once you got the knack of it you could do it one hand, cos you was cutting down all the time like [...] that's what it was.
(PS22C) [431] So you were, in fact, going backwards, backwards [...] the boat was going forward.
George (PS22D) [432] That's right, yeah, that's right [...] you was back to where you were going.
(PS22C) [433] Did you ever have any accidents?
George (PS22D) [434] No, no, I [...] scull one hand, like that.
(PS22C) [435] But you used to get in trouble for standing on the seats?
George (PS22D) [436] For standing on the, on the seats you see, which I mean my father was right he'd got the experience to know that several men had been drowned like that.
(PS22C) [437] What else did you get in trouble for?
George (PS22D) [438] Oh nothing else, no nothing else, well we daren't because I mean my father was so strict, you know you gotta do as your told.
(PS22C) [439] On the dredger what other jobs would you have to do in the way of maintenance, you said you had to repair the buckets.
George (PS22D) [440] Buckets, well every night time, when we finished dredging, you had to wash down, wash the decks down cos I mean that the decks used to be covered in mud and slush, so all we had then was an old draw bucket on a bit of rope, over the side, there weren't no hoses then, we used to [...] the bucket and then we used to swing all the mud back in there, in the river.
[441] Just wash the decks down.
(PS22C) [442] So you used to put the, drop the bucket down the side
George (PS22D) [443] Yes, on a bit.. on a bit of rope
(PS22C) [444] Then haul it back up.
George (PS22D) [445] Haul it back up, then chuck it down on the deck [clears throat]
(PS22C) [446] and scrub your decks after.
George (PS22D) [447] Scrub the decks [...] clean.
(PS22C) [448] Where was the mud coming from, falling out the bucket?
George (PS22D) [449] Co fall out the bucket you see on the ... when they [...] over the top tumbler that'd splash on into the chute, there used to be a chute, take it right into the harbour.
[450] When that gone down they used to splash cos that used to come underneath the buckets and our cabin hatchway was facing that and many a time that'd come right down the cabin, the mud.
(PS22C) [451] Actually fall down inside the [...] ?
George (PS22D) [452] That would I mean that'd splash down there.
(PS22C) [453] So it was quite messy on board?
George (PS22D) [454] Oh that was messy, you're telling me [clears throat] was messy, I've known cups of tea, you put a cup of tea on there the other cup of tea was there, well we never used to have saucers couldn't afford them, that'd be there a mug of tea and that'd move like that off the table that'd come cos the dredger was shaking so much.
(PS22C) [455] Actually vibrate the whole boat?
George (PS22D) [456] That vibrate the whole boat that would do.
(PS22C) [457] Was it noisy?
George (PS22D) [458] Noisy, helluva row.
(PS22C) [459] And you liked working on there?
George (PS22D) [460] Oh [...] I really enjoyed it, yes.
[461] Really enjoyed working there. [clears throat]
(PS22C) [462] Became a way of life for you [...]
George (PS22D) [463] Pardon?
(PS22C) [464] I would have thought it became a way of life?
George (PS22D) [465] Well I think it was [...] I mean that erm we when you dredge from the Causeway I'd say near the Harbourmaster's office and we dredged all the way to Botterman's Bay just below Pinmill and that Botterman's Bay was [clears throat] that's a place where they had [...] and that's where the big ships used to moor then and they used to get.. be lightened, like all grain goods and that used to be loaded into barges by hand and then when it goes so light they used to [...] the fish with about three thousand grain in 'em and then they used to fill them up in the dock, on the same method.
(PS22C) [466] How long did it take you to dredge that length?
George (PS22D) [467] Well we dredged them from nineteen twenty five to nineteen thirty two.
(PS22C) [468] And you were dredging all the while?
George (PS22D) [469] All the time yes, apart from say about six weeks, used to come in in the winter [clears throat] to repair the ... do maintenance on the dredger and then the old harbourmaster would say right, we should have been here for six weeks, he come after a month, he'd say, paint the ... cover the rust up he said and bugger off out again.
[470] Start dredging, see he wanted to get the job done.
[471] I know that on Sunday I was on, on the [...] watch, this weekend, and there was so much ice on the river, our anchor boat which is all made of wood, that's moored up alongside the dredger and when I went along and got, that was about twelve o'clock in the mid-day.
[472] That was half full of water and the ice had cut through the wood [...] flow down the river, cos the water was coming in like hell and er cos one thing I had to do about it, had like a chain in the, in th in the boat, so we pulled the chain out, I pulled the chain out first and go just got the, the erm hull just above water so I [...] bail the boat out with a bucket chuck it down the side right quick.
[473] That's how I saved the boat then.
[474] Otherwise it'd er fill right up down to the side the, the top of the boat, that was on a Sunday.
(PS22C) [475] Were you working this particular Sunday?
George (PS22D) [476] Well I was on watch, weekend watch, you see.
(PS22C) [477] What was weekend watch?
George (PS22D) [478] Well [...] I went to work on the Saturday morning at six and we were dredging until half past twelve, then we would, then do repairs till five o'clock at night and then five o'clock at night, when the other crew had gone home, when I start to stay there then from five o'clock Saturday night till Monday morning six o'clock all the time just to keep watch on the dredger, I used to sleep mind you during part of the time and erm used to have a big old tortoise stove down the cabin and make good fire.
(PS22C) [479] When you say tortoise stove
George (PS22D) [480] Well that was what they call it, tortoise stove, used to be a big stove and that ain't got no grate in they had er they used to feed it from the top,
(PS22C) [481] What with?
George (PS22D) [482] coal, and then rake down to the bottom and that's when you open the little door for the draught to go up and they cal they call them tortoise stove.
(PS22C) [483] Is that what kept you warm?
George (PS22D) [484] That what kept us warm.
[485] I didn't sleep in my father's bunk I used to sleep on the table, I er had an old flock mattress, that's what I had, an old flock mattress and a flock pillow.
(PS22C) [486] [laugh] Why did you sleep on the table?
George (PS22D) [487] Well the [...] was right near the fire.
[488] See we had a fire right in the middle of the cabin and I used to chuck this here er flock mattress on the table and the blankets over the old flock pillow and go to sleep that way.
(PS22C) [489] [laugh] What were you keeping watch for while you were on board?
George (PS22D) [490] Well we had to keep somebody on watch in case there was any damage, say the ship was [...] up the river and a chain broke or they hit you, so you had to put your navigation lights up and to put navigation lights up we had hurricane lamps, we had a red and a white one, they should have been six foot apart, they never were they was about three foot.
(PS22C) [491] Why was that?
George (PS22D) [492] Well, that's the quickest way to do it, we used to hang one below the other on the dredger, [...] be put up at sunset and we used to take 'em down early in the morning, but you always had, you always had erm navigation lights up, must ...
(PS22C) [493] So this was part of the job at the weekend?
George (PS22D) [494] That was part of your job as a watchman, you have to [...] all the little paraffin lamps, that's all they were, sometimes they'd keep alight and sometimes they wouldn't, they'd go out but there was ... there was never much erm work at night times on the river, might be an old barge.
[495] I remember one time er these barges, old barges when you used to come up there, they ain't got any engine in 'em at all because now they got motors in 'em, but erm, at that time, I was asleep one night and er these barges had been up, they'd been down the ... the engine room, cos the engine room and the stoke hall was all in one and th and then I was so sound asleep they'd filled the sacks up with coal and took them up over the [...] and took [...] the only thing they did do they didn't take the shovel they'd used, cos they bought their shovel from off the barge and they left that downhill that's how they'd pinched the coal.
[496] It didn't make any difference to me.
(PS22C) [497] They actually came aboard and pinched your coal?
George (PS22D) [498] They'd pinched the coal and that didn't make any difference to me because it weren't my coal, [...]
(PS22C) [499] [laugh] Did you have any coal left after that?
George (PS22D) [500] Oh yeah, we had plenty of coal, plenty of coal.
[501] I didn't mind them taking any coal.
(PS22C) [502] And you were asleep while they did it?
George (PS22D) [503] But I was asleep while the ... while they took it.
(PS22C) [504] But then you gained their shovel anyway. [laugh]
George (PS22D) [505] Gained their shovel.
[506] Cos their shovel was different to ours, but that weren't any good to us cos that was er, cos what they used to ... trim grain with, now a grain shovel was made of tin and cos our shovels what they used to feed the boiler with were all steel shovels.
(PS22C) [507] [...] so that wasn't strong enough to shovel coal?
George (PS22D) [508] They weren't any good to shovel coals no, [...] is to give it away again.
(PS22C) [509] Did wha did that usually happen, come aboard and steel [...] ?
George (PS22D) [510] Oh very often, yeah, very often.
[511] Now we used to clean the bottom up cos [...] used to be a big boiler in the dredger and erm we used to close down every six weeks, which they used to call blow the boiler down, that mean that they open the valve and the heat used to take all the water into the river, so er, that used to be blown down Friday night, come Saturday morning we'd start at six o'clock and chip all the fur off inside the boiler, cos the boiler was made with all [...] and what we call the crown, that used to be the two furnaces, cos they're double the big boiler were a double furnace and we had to chip all that fur off them, well it used to take us now from six o'clock in the morning or say seven when we got there [...] had to go down the tug and er go down the tug and erm, then we go aboard and strip off.
[512] You didn't want any clothes on, you put a pair of trousers on, that's all you want and a little old thin shirt and chip all this stuff off the ... what we call the crown.
(PS22C) [513] Was it hot in there?
George (PS22D) [514] That was hot, yes and th in between there used to be [...] that's where your furnace used to go in and come back and up out the chimney and that they put them the [...] in there to heat the water quick you see and yet they ought to be, they had to be sliced out with a what they call a slice, cos they used to get furred up and we used to give them nineteen and sixpence for that [...] to fill the boiler up again, we had t used to have take [...] Pinmill and they used to have to [...] come up [...] to get fresh water into the anchor boat and we used to pump it up by hand, into the boiler.
(PS22C) [515] Everything was done by hand?
George (PS22D) [516] Everything was done by hand.
[517] Everything.
(PS22C) [518] When you got water, when you came up to the docks to get water, where would you obtain that from?
George (PS22D) [519] Well they usually out ... out of the er hydrant on the quay cos the hydrant on the quay there used to be a water main a the water main used to go along there and we used to put so much water into the boat and now we come down and used to pump that out and then go back after some more.
(PS22C) [520] Was that a hydrant available for the use of all the steam boats?
George (PS22D) [521] Pard yes that was, oh yes.
(PS22C) [522] Were there many hydrants?
George (PS22D) [523] Oh yes, on, on Cliff Quay.
[524] You get ... I reckon you get one about every fifty yards, something like that.
[525] Maybe less than that.
[526] You've still got 'em round the dock now.
(PS22C) [527] Where are they now?
George (PS22D) [528] On the edge of the Quay.
(PS22C) [529] Do they still work?
George (PS22D) [530] They still work ... I [...] they've got [...] there used to be one man er employed to erm give these er boats water, fresh water drinking water
(PS22C) [531] What would [...] ?
George (PS22D) [...]
(PS22C) [532] What would he be called, what was, what ...
George (PS22D) [533] He just call him the waterman.
(PS22C) [534] Waterman?
George (PS22D) [535] The waterman, and he had, he had a clock on top of his hydrant, to say how much water the ... the ... the boat taken.
[536] Soon did ... they soon take up enough he used to go on board with his book and get it signed by the mate or the er captain of the ship.
(PS22C) [537] And is ... do you know how much they were charged?
George (PS22D) [538] I don't know but an ordinary barge used to have a little wooden crate and he want to have a little tank, they put a fixed charge on of two and six pence that's what they done.
(PS22C) [539] Even if he had a small pond [...] ?
George (PS22D) [540] If he had a small pond it used to be [...] was two and sixpence that's all they used to charge, but of course the other boats, now the boats that used to come from Rotterdam they wouldn't fill up there and they were Dutch boats, they wouldn't fill up in water out of the Rhine in Rotterdam, they always wait until they come to Ipswich and got fresh water.
(PS22C) [541] Why was that?
George (PS22D) [542] Well it was better than what theirs was, cos theirs come out of the Rhine.
(PS22C) [543] Which wasn't very clean?
George (PS22D) [544] Weren't very clean and er course Ipswich water's all nice fresh water, they always filled up with fresh water at Ipswich, the Dutch boats which was the ... we had three boats there, they used to be the Ipswich [...] , Ipswich Progress and Ipswich Pioneer.
[545] They had them three boats and then they used to take [...] do away with the small boats and they had one big one, the Ipswich erm Pioneer Progress something like that.
(PS22C) [546] What did they do?
George (PS22D) [547] They used to bring all general cargo from Rotterdam to Ipswich.
George (PS22D) [548] Wh when was this?
George (PS22D) [549] Oh about erm, let me see about ten years ago.
(PS22C) [550] Oh you're going back ten years [...] ?
George (PS22D) [551] Yeah, about ten years that's all.
(PS22C) [552] Going back to when you were on watch on the dredger over the weekends, did it ever feel lonely?
George (PS22D) [553] Well we had er,th there always used to be one man aboard the dumb hopper,wh they used to leave there for Monday morning and they used to p him, a man with him.
[554] With me there, but he'd be aboard the dumb hopper and I'd be aboard the dredger and I remember one man, he turned round, his name was ex naval man he was and er I went round on the Sunday morning and he didn't speak to me on the Saturday.
[555] I went to him on the Sunday morning I said morning Charlie, he said morning and I said ni I said goodnight Charlie, he say goodnight and that's the only thing he said to me all the weekend.
[556] That's true.
[557] Yeah.
(PS22C) [laugh]
George (PS22D) [558] He used t he used t he used to take about half a dozen bottles of beer on the Saturday morning with him and that's where he used to be in his, in his galley and he wouldn't move out that galley all the time.
(PS22C) [559] He wasn't a talkative [laugh] [...] .
George (PS22D) [560] Oh he weren't, no.
[561] Coo Charlie I always remember him, ex naval man.
(PS22C) [562] So how did you fill in your time?
George (PS22D) [563] Eh?
(PS22C) [564] How did you fill in your time?
George (PS22D) [565] Just sit there and do anything, do a bit of fishing.
(PS22C) [566] Fishing?
George (PS22D) [567] Yeah, you could fish in the river then.
(PS22C) [568] What sort of fish did you used to get?
George (PS22D) [569] Small little dabs, dabs and eels.
(PS22C) [570] Did you eat them.
George (PS22D) [571] Yes.
(PS22C) [572] You used to cook them on board?
George (PS22D) [573] Cook them on board.
[574] I know, I went, I got some whelks once and that was in [...] Bay, they were lovely whelks and I put 'em in a bucket and er didn't think and now I used to put some flour in with 'em.
[575] If you put flour with 'em, with the whelk they used to make 'em nice and fat and tender.
(PS22C) [576] Why, because they feed on it?
George (PS22D) [577] They're feeding on this here, on this flour.
[578] Anyhow, the next morning I got up they were all over the deck, they crawled out of the bloody bucket.
(PS22C) [laugh]
George (PS22D) [579] They crawled out the bucket all over the deck.
[580] That [...] my first experience of catching whelks.
(PS22C) [581] [laugh] How did you catch the whelks?
George (PS22D) [582] Well you had a ho used to have a hoop net,a a and that used to be a re like with a hoop.
[583] That used to be with er a piece of net in and across the top used to have two piece of wire, one way, and two piece the other and you catch a crab open the crab open and they used to put the crab between there and the whelks used to feed on the crab and then when you pulled it out, they all went to the bottom of the net.
(PS22C) [584] [...] clever. [laugh]
George (PS22D) [585] That's how we used to catch the fish like that.
(PS22C) [586] Earlier on you were talking about erm the dredger bringing up fish or you your father [...]
George (PS22D) [587] Oh yes we use cos when you're dredging, you see when the eels came in the mud, eels always go in the mud in the winter time, you don't, many eels swirl out, they go in the mud and when you're dredging and they're going into the hopper, cos they used to get stunned and they used to swim round right down the top of the water and they used to come up to the side, and if they come up to the side you could have your [...] knife and just come here, cos they were stunned, pick 'em out.
(PS22C) [588] What you lean over?
George (PS22D) [589] No, well there weren't much to see if your hopper was full, you ain't got far to go cos they only come about a foot off side, you see you could just kneel down there and catch 'em.
(PS22C) [590] Did everybody take fish?
George (PS22D) [591] Well there were them what could get 'em.
[592] They won't be interest to someone.
[593] Something go a hang whether they had cut the fish or not.
(PS22C) [594] Where was the best place for bringing up fish on the river?
George (PS22D) [595] I reckon the best place is Finn Mill, cos that was a lot cleaner, see your river, now cos that's polluted now and er all you get in the river now is you get [...] flounders or eels, that's what you get.
[596] At that time, I mean, I have known when my, when I was a dredger and they used t we used to clean the bottom, I have known er mussels on the bottom, used to feed on, be on the side of the ship, good mussels, but of course there used to be cockles, winkles.
(PS22C) [597] Mm.
George (PS22D) [598] Winkles down at Finn Mill there used to be sm well thousands, millions of them, winkles and the ships used to come round from the Blackwater from Colchester area, come round, stay round the Finn Mill about a fortnight and they used to have what they call a well in their boat and they used to have ... fill up little sacks like a sand bag of winkles and take them round there and cultivate them.
[599] Now there's no ... there's no er winkles in the river today.
[600] There are fertilisers gone down the river and they kill them all off.
(PS22C) [601] Where do the fertilisers come from?
George (PS22D) [602] Fertiliser factory down here.
(PS22C) [603] What on the dock?
George (PS22D) [604] Yeah, Cliff Quay.
(PS22C) [605] When was that built?
George (PS22D) [606] Oh was built oh that was built nineteen thirty odd
(PS22C) [607] Mm mm.
George (PS22D) [608] And course they used to dump further down the [...] there.
[609] Not in my time but they used to be all branched off, there used to be a lot of oysters.
[610] Now they're all gone round the Colchester area [clears throat]
(PS22C) [...]
George (PS22D) [611] Cos they're finished, they call them the oyster beds.
(PS22C) [612] When you were on the watch for the weekend, did you used to get extra payment for that?
George (PS22D) [613] Ten shillings from Saturday morning, from when they ... when the men left off at half past four on a Saturday till six o'clock Monday morning, we got ten shillings and if ... and if we were on watch on th on the night time, cos we used to do one watch one week and one night one week and two nights next, cos there used to be the mate and erm three more sailors, used to take turns, well there was only four nights so the man who done the Monday night, they done the Friday night.
[614] So he got two nights in one week and the others done the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
[615] That's how they used to work around all the time.
(PS22C) [616] So it was watched all the while like that?
George (PS22D) [617] [...] you got to have a watchman all the time on the dredger.
(PS22C) [618] Did anything ever go wrong when you were on watch?
George (PS22D) [619] No, never.
[620] No.
(PS22C) [621] The ... the boats coming up would have passed if ... if you were down the river.
[622] Any boat coming up would have come fairly close wouldn't it?
George (PS22D) [623] That would do, but they should ease down when they come past, but they didn't, they never took no notice.
(PS22C) [624] Didn't they?
George (PS22D) [625] Oh no, my father stand aboard there when we have been dredging, you know, and they come up there at speed and he stood there and he swore at ... at that part of if, call them all the crazy buggers [...] my father.
(PS22C) [626] [laugh] But they never took any notice?
George (PS22D) [627] Yes, there was one pilot down there, his name was George and er, my father was in one Sunday and he said to my father, he said [...] he say you only think you know the river.
[628] Cos he'd report there was a there weren't enough water inside the place, so he said to my father, say to him, he'd say er don't you tell me [...] all thick he'd say, I dredge the bloody river, he say.
[629] You keep in the channel he say you [...] the ground and that was the truth too.
[630] He ... he went out the channel went on the boat.
(PS22C) [631] How wide was the channel?
George (PS22D) [632] Well it was all different widths.
[633] The widest part, I think, is what they call near the [...] just below the, that's er what they call [...] that's not in the book now.
[634] Hall Point they dunno where that ...
(PS22C) [635] Is that Hall Point?
George (PS22D) [636] Hall Point that was called.
(PS22C) [637] H A double L?
George (PS22D) [638] And then you had one at Pinmill, now they've got erm the [...] in there ... in that book now, well that was called [...] Point, one or two of the old names are there like Deer Park Lodge and the river in Foxes Bottom.
(PS22C) [639] Where was Foxes Bottom?
George (PS22D) [640] Foxes Bottom was just below Pinmill, opposite [...] Bay.
(PS22C) [641] Going away from Ipswich?
George (PS22D) [642] On going away from Ipswich on, yes, on the Pinmill side.
[643] Cos you got Nagden the other side, right opposite Nagden Chorlis
(PS22C) [644] The Cat House, where was that?
George (PS22D) [645] The Cat House well that's at [...] , the Cat House, that's wher that's where the house used to be, where in er [...] time erm, that's where they used to put a cat in the window for the smokers.
(PS22C) [646] What a real cat?
George (PS22D) [647] I dunno whether it was a real cat, I don't think so, as a matter of fact I was just finished reading [...] the book which is interesting, tell you all about the river.
(PS22C) [648] Why did they put the cat in the window?
George (PS22D) [649] Well [...] smokers [...] all clear or not I don't know but th that even mentioned in that book Downham Reach and that talk about the Priory Farm where [...] was cos that was all walking about [...] all these smugglers at that time ... but the book I, the history I thought about [...] don't seem the same in the book now.
(PS22C) [650] So you used to dredge all that length right the way down
George (PS22D) [651] All that length, yeah
(PS22C) [652] right up from in the dock
George (PS22D) [653] Right to the dock yes
(PS22C) [654] right the way through?
George (PS22D) [655] Yeah, what we call a new cut, we dredge right opposite the Harbourmaster's office and we dredged all and we used to do that tide time, had to work at ti tides, when it's high tide, cos that [...] otherwise there weren't any water there at all.
[656] That's when the erm, the pleasure boats used to run from there, the Suffolk and the Norfolk, them, they were erm, they were sharp both ends, the Suffolk and the Norfolk.
(PS22C) [657] Sharp both ends?
George (PS22D) [658] Yeah, well they got ... they were, they were sharp both ends, they weren't, ain't got no stern, them paddle ... they were paddle boats, so there you got one [...] they had a rudder each end so they had to keep one rudder shut and the other one used to steer [...] .
[659] That was the old rail roll railway boats, Suffolk and the Norfolk.
(PS22C) [660] Where did they go from?
George (PS22D) [661] They went from er the New Cut, near the Harbourmaster's office, the stations are still there, a lot of [...] on there now.
[662] Then you had the City of Rochester, that was another boat, after the war, that used to run from [...] .
[663] There used to be three, the Essex, the Suffolk and the Norfolk and the Suffolk had two funnels and the er the Norfolk had one funnel.
(PS22C) [664] Where did they go to?
George (PS22D) [665] And they used to run from here to Harwich, Felixstowe, that used to be their run, all run by the ... you could ... you could get a bus oh you could go down [...] go on them boats and you go to Harwich, Felixstowe and then get off at Felixstowe and come on the bus if you wanted to.
(PS22C) [666] And these were pleasure?
George (PS22D) [667] That was all pleasure boats.
(PS22C) [668] Pleasure boats, but people could use them for just getting around anywhere?
George (PS22D) [669] Yes, yeah there used ... there used to be one go down, another one used to be coming up.
(PS22C) [670] Was this every day?
George (PS22D) [671] Every day.
(PS22C) [672] What di what did they charge for a trip [...] ?
George (PS22D) [673] Oh goodness be about one and ninepence.
(PS22C) [674] To go to Harwich?
George (PS22D) [675] To go to Harwich, yes, they erm, the Salvation Army, once a year that's where they used to go on their for their treat.
[676] They used to go from here to Dovercourt.
[677] All people that went to the Salvation Army in they ... they always used to have their treat there, other church always used to go to Felixstowe, that used to cost us ninepence to go to Felixstowe on the train.
(PS22C) [678] On the train?
George (PS22D) [679] Yeah ... Felixstowe.
(PS22C) [680] Why did they bother going?
George (PS22D) [681] And at one ... one erm, they was er the other one was the Clements Church Hall used to go to Felixstowe but the er, the other one the Memorial Hall down the bottom of down er ... that was just off er down there we they couldn't afford to go to Felixstowe, so we went on Cobbles Meadow down here, that's what we had then.
(PS22C) [682] When you say Cobbles Meadow down here, where do you mean?
George (PS22D) [683] Well that's near Cobbles [...] , that's where the, there is a football pitch down the bottom of Cliff Lane.
(PS22C) [684] Oh that's down by the dock?
George (PS22D) [685] That's right there's a ... that used to be an old meadow, that's all it used to be, course now, they've got a nice football pitch on it now.
(PS22C) [686] Is that place now?
George (PS22D) [687] place.
(PS22C) [688] That's their football pitch?
George (PS22D) [689] That's their football pitch there.
(PS22C) [690] Going back to dredging.
[691] You talked about the New Cut?
George (PS22D) [692] Yes, well the New Cut, you see, years ago, [...] they used to be the entrance to the dock.
[693] Cos if you g if anybody go down there now they could see where what we call the Pier Head, so ships had to go up there and turn in to the lock gate.
[694] Now, the lock gates are right, [...] the river, so they can come up [...] straight in, previous they used to have to go up, up the river there, new cut and then turn into the dock.
(PS22C) [695] So there were no lock gates originally [...] ?
George (PS22D) [696] There were no lock, no lock gates this end.
[697] No, that's a long while before my time.
(PS22C) [698] Did you have to do any dredging up there?
(PS22C) [699] Yeah, we done dredging up there.
[700] We just skimmed it off.
(PS22C) [701] When did they put the ... the new
George (PS22D) [702] The new lock gates?
(PS22C) [703] Yeah.
George (PS22D) [704] Oh goodness knows, I mean that them gates have been renewed and I remember them being renewed, these gates what they got there now.
[705] They must have been renewed somewhere about the erm [...] I would say roughly round about nineteen twenty seven, twenty eight and that's been renewed as lock gates, cos they took 'em out and they had a big crane come from Rotterdam to lift them up and er [...] things [...] do now well that's surprising what they do do now.
[706] I mean, that I known, these people down here now have [...] the old dredger what they got here now.
[707] They ... they fix it up with wires and they got so far and as the tide rise, cos the ship come up and [...] they take 'em out and take 'em to the dock, take 'em out with a heavy crane.
(PS22C) [708] Mm mm.
George (PS22D) [709] See [...] lot lot of these jobs are done by the tide, say you take a ship now what's been sunk in the river, at low tide they'll put the wires underneath, make them fast to the ships and when the tide [...] when the t t tide rise out come the ship, and they can take it where they want to.
(PS22C) [710] How many feet does the tide rise down at this dock?
George (PS22D) [711] About, roughly round about er twelve feet in the river
(PS22C) [712] I in the river?
George (PS22D) [713] and rise and fall about twelve feet, they tell you in that new book you've got there, the rise and fall.
(PS22C) [714] How deep did you used to dredge it out?
George (PS22D) [715] Well we dredged it, alongside of Cliff Quay, that was twenty eight feet of water at low tide, that was ... that's what they guarantee, apart from what they call [...] and then [...] two blasts off, two ships was laying [...] that'd be at twenty eight feet, then that would rise ten feet below what they call [...] , cos all in metres now.
(PS22C) [716] What's a docksill?
George (PS22D) [717] A docksill is what that [...] takes.
[718] Whatever the tide states at the lock gates, the ri the channel is [...] dredged ten feet below that.
[719] [...] ten feet deeper.
(PS22C) [720] And who used to work all this out, your father?
George (PS22D) [721] No, the Harbourmaster used to do that.
[722] He'd tell him, he'd get his orders from the office, cos the Deputy Harbourmaster he would go down all the sound ... he [...] sound in river and see what wanted taken out, then he'd say to my father I'll dredge at so and so belo below docksill and docksill what they used to do they used to, my father what he'd do he'd put stakes on the mud, a short stake and a long stake on account of the tide and he'd, he'd make an imaginary [...] on that stake, then he'd go ashore at Wolverston, phone up [...] what have you got on your docksill, the fella might say it's ten feet, well he'd say right we'll make that twenty feet, so that's er, that's what he used to work on to dredge the river.
(PS22C) [723] Used to dredge the channel out, how, how wide did the channel have to be?
George (PS22D) [724] All different widths.
(PS22C) [725] What, why different widths?
George (PS22D) [726] Well I don't know that's just [...] enough room for a ship to get up.
[727] I mean the narrowest part of the river I would say is er where Hall Bridge is, that's the narrowest part.
(PS22C) [728] And how wide is that?
George (PS22D) [729] Well could be about seventy five yards I think, that's to see that
(PS22C) [730] And you did this with a three foot wide bucket?
George (PS22D) [731] Yes.
(PS22C) [732] So it must have taken a long while? [laugh]
George (PS22D) [733] Yes, surprising, it's surprising how fa far you went ahead.
[734] I mean seven years continual dredging for seven years apart from a month they in dock and you were taking out eight hundred tonne every hopper load and some days you were doing five loads and sometimes four loads, was a lot of mud [...] we dumped so much mud out at erm near the Cork Lightship, now you would think they would level theirself off wouldn't you and if they didn't that [...] up.
[735] [...] what they have to do, have to go further off now, when they are dredging now they have to go further off into the sea, North Sea
(PS22C) [736] [cough] Why did it build up?
George (PS22D) [737] Well cos at er, there weren't enough tide to take it away, I mean you ta you get clay well that's, that's solid and the amount of stuff I was dredge [...] they use and use it, now we're not the only ones got it, they got people from Harwich, people from Felixstowe, they were all dumping out there.
(PS22C) [738] That silts up again then doesn't it when you dredged it up?
George (PS22D) [739] And that silts up [...] and tha cos the you get the silt, well I think it silted up about three feet in about three years, that weren't much and the.. course [...] to come up now.
[740] With ... with dredged up pieces of rocks bigger than that erm machine, bigger than yes, that one yeah.
(PS22C) [741] Bigger than the sideboard?
George (PS22D) [742] Yeah, bigger than that.
(PS22C) [743] What's that about ... three foot by two foot?
George (PS22D) [744] Yes.
(PS22C) [745] And you've dredged up pieces of rock?
George (PS22D) [746] And we'd dredge 'em up and they [...] and they used to pick 'em up on a bucket, go in there, pick 'em on a bucket and of course instead of them going over, the tumbler, into the harbour, we used to have to put a chain round and [...] 'em off, cos if not they'd have gone over them, tumbler and damaged the chute.
(PS22C) [747] Er what sort of [...] just ordinary [...] ?
George (PS22D) [748] Well they've got them all outside the erm lock gates now.
[749] Up on the shore what we dredged up.
(PS22C) [750] Do they?
George (PS22D) [751] Yeah.
(PS22C) [752] Outside the lock gates?
George (PS22D) [753] Outside the lock gates, just as you go into th into [...] near the erm Customs Hut, the Customs place, near the lock gates, all the rock [...] now is what we dredged up years and years ago.
(PS22C) [754] I didn't know that,
George (PS22D) [755] Yeah
(PS22C) [756] just sit there.
George (PS22D) [757] That's still there now, cos they used to take it up there and dump it when it weren't any good.
(PS22C) [758] Did you often dredge rock up?
George (PS22D) [759] Oh goodness yes,wh we if we dredged up, we'd have a say a piece of [...] on deck, we used to land them on deck until we got room, so we came up at Upper Dock.
[760] There might be a yachtsman come along and he'd want a mooring, so he'd say to my father, can you fix us up [...] yes, get an old bit of chain and put round, put some wooden wed wedges in tighten 'em up, [...] up, that's his, that's his mooring, he'd take it somewhere in the river, have it dumped, put a buoy on it, that was, that's like his anchor.
(PS22C) [761] So that was quite handy then [...] [laugh]
George (PS22D) [762] [...] handy, that was a lit lit little bit of did it
(PS22C) [763] Perks of the job? [laugh]
George (PS22D) [764] Yeah.
[765] Certainly had.
(PS22C) [766] You spoke earlier about dredging teeth and bones up of animals.
[767] Whereabouts were they dredged up?
George (PS22D) [768] Preston.
[769] At Preston.
[770] Out of the peat.
[771] Now er clay pipes, we used to dredge up and they got dredged up down opposite Pinmill, and they were a long pipe, but cos the, the stem a lot of them had been broken off and wh how they got down there nobody know, I think they used to be like in ballast with the [...] ships, I think.
[772] Like there weren't any old boys on there they used to wash 'em out you know and clean them up then smoke 'em.
[773] [...] an old clay pipe
(PS22C) [774] Did they really?
George (PS22D) [775] Then you used to be able to buy clay pipes, I don't think you could today.
(PS22C) [776] No.
George (PS22D) [777] But er a lot of 'em used to erm,use used to smoke 'em.
(PS22C) [778] They used to come up with the dredging spoil
George (PS22D) [779] With the dredger yes.
[780] We ca we dredged some off erm halfway to the by the [...] near Pinmill.
(PS22C) [781] What happened to the bones and the teeth you you collected?
George (PS22D) [782] The teeth there used to be a man come down about once every three months and er where he came from I don't know.
[783] Whether he come from this [...] or not, but erm we were dredging the West Bank cos er the kind of ship we got there then were the big tankers and there weren't enough room for them to swing round, so we had to dredge part of the bank out to make the swinging berth and erm there we dredged a bone up about that size
(PS22C) [784] What was that about
George (PS22D) [785] and
(PS22C) [786] four foot [...] ?
George (PS22D) [787] Yeah that's a big and my and that stuck out the bucket like that, well going over the top we had a hood over the top tumbler to stop the [...] flashing, so my father stopped, thinking that was a bit of wood and were gonna break the top of the tumbler, so he stop and [...] out and scrubbed it and found that was this bone and I think if my memory serve me right that's in the, the Fleet Museum now.
(PS22C) [788] You don't know what it came off?
George (PS22D) [789] No, they reckon that was an elephant, I don't know [...] so the yarn went.
[790] [...] all we see all different bits of bone.
(PS22C) [791] What else did you get?
George (PS22D) [792] Lot of sewage but the, the, the, the sewage [...] .
[793] That was terrible that was, cos that's where a lot of their stuff was dumped, in the river at one time, cos now that's all taken to sea.
(PS22C) [794] Did any of the, the teeth and the bones erm
George (PS22D) [795] [...] like a deer's like a deer's jaw.
(PS22C) [796] A whole jaw?
George (PS22D) [797] Yeah, a whole jaw.
[798] You [...] part of the horn, you dredged them up, cos you used t the only thing we saw [...] taken out, then this old fella used to come down from the Museum or whatever he was and he used to be pleased he'd stay there all day and pick up them all.
(PS22C) [799] Did you get many?
George (PS22D) [800] Good few.
(PS22C) [801] Do you know if they still dredge them up these days or ...
George (PS22D) [802] Oh I think they do
(PS22C) [803] Mm
George (PS22D) [804] See well th the dredger they get now, the little dredger they got now that should hold about four hundred ton [...] .
[805] The mud they put out now there is lucky if they put two hundred ton in and that's only had by grab and course they'd make a hole there, then course that fill up again.
[806] That's how they do [...] dredging now.
(PS22C) [807] They make the hole?
George (PS22D) [808] Yeah,wh when the grab go in, you see them, that's making a hole isn't it
(PS22C) [809] Mm
George (PS22D) [810] and course then the sides cave in again [...] and that's the idea they can keep it down level, or try to.
(PS22C) [811] So is that a better way of doing it?
George (PS22D) [812] No the only, I would say personally, I would say the best dredging method is buckets because you can, you can keep a level, you could keep a level with a sucker dredger but not a ground dredger ... unless [...] like grabbing [...] out the hole.
[813] Er er in hole that's like that and you're grabbing out, well you're only making a hole and fill in again but they [...] into that one place don't they ...
(PS22C) [...]
George (PS22D) [814] [...] like down at the erm, when I was crane driving, we used to have ships coming from Casablanca, with phosphate in and then there be a, another part there was [...] sulphur [...] , then they used to be erm, there's green oar, what we used to call [...]
(PS22C) [815] Green oar?
George (PS22D) [816] Green oar
(PS22C) [817] What's that?
George (PS22D) [818] Well that's a he very heavy stuff, that's a er is er like er erm, oh a heavy little lead.
(PS22C) [819] Is it a metal?
George (PS22D) [820] Er a well I don't know, I feel that th there used to be something in that, that used to burn it up now what they call their top site and when they burned it they took all the acid out of it, and there used to be all yellow stuff come out the chimney and that, when they finished burn that was always red and the Germans used to come after that before the war, Second World War, they used to come after that and they used to reckon they make paintwork but now you done something else different with it and they use I tell you we used to give it the name of green oar or parites
(PS22C) [821] parites
George (PS22D) [822] parites yeah.
(PS22C) [823] Do you remember the Second World War at the docks.
[824] What it was like?
George (PS22D) [825] Yes, I was a crane driver then.
(PS22C) [826] You moved on from being on the dredger?
George (PS22D) [827] [...] no I was made off [...] .
[828] I moved off the dredger in nineteen thirty two and I was crane driving from nineteen thirty two till after the war.
(PS22C) [829] Why did you finish on the dredger?
George (PS22D) [830] Well cos they finished, they ain't got enough money.
(PS22C) [831] So they ...
George (PS22D) [832] They, they packed the [...] and sold it.
(PS22C) [833] So this was the Dock Commission?
George (PS22D) [834] Yes, Dock Commission sold the dredger, they sold the hoppers and then last the steam hopper went from here to Harwich and what they done at Harwich they, on the foredeck, [...] see a big hopper, what we call hopper number three, they put a crane on there and use it t as a [...] hopper then and [...]
(PS22C) [835] And did they continue dredging?
George (PS22D) [836] And the dredger went to erm Hull, that's where it went to, to br be broken up.
(PS22C) [837] Who did the dredging after that then?
George (PS22D) [838] Well the .
[839] They're a big, they're a big dredging company from London.
[840] If they want their dredging done they got them people in which cost a lot more money.
(PS22C) [841] That seems a bit odd really that they paid
George (PS22D) [842] Right, yeah it does, I mean there were, [...] that's how things went.
(PS22C) [843] Was that er erm a depressing time at the docks
George (PS22D) [844] That was, yes
(PS22C) [845] at nineteen thirty two?
George (PS22D) [846] That was because I mean you take now the, the, the Dredging Company what they call the in their funnel they used to have erm a square and in halves that used to be a blue and a yellow.
[847] That was our marking, all our ships used to have the blue and er I think blue [...] and yellow in the square, cos they hired these [...] the people who do er you know suppose hire them off now would be the erm the Dutch people cos they're the people what er, they deal in all that type of thing, big dredging, that's how Rotterdam was built [clears throat]
(PS22C) [848] By dredging?
George (PS22D) [849] By dredging.
[850] Reclaimed land.
(PS22C) [851] Why was times bad in nineteen thirty two for the dock?
George (PS22D) [852] Pardon?
(PS22C) [853] Why were times bad for the dock in nineteen thirty two?
George (PS22D) [854] Well that's one of those things, like it is today you see, unemployment and new trade coming in and all the rest of that.
(PS22C) [855] Why wasn't the trade coming in?
George (PS22D) [856] People didn't want it, weren't the money about, investments I suppose.
(PS22C) [857] So from there you moved on to being, being a crane driver?
George (PS22D) [858] I went crane driving.
(PS22C) [859] Mm mm what did that involve?
George (PS22D) [860] [clears throat] Well the first crane I drove was a [...] was only at that [...] so I was stuck on one of them and I had to sling me grab all the time and this, this bridge come round and miss the bridge and go over it and rush it [...] down to the hold.
(PS22C) [861] Was that difficult?
George (PS22D) [862] It was difficult cos you only had what they we call the joystick behind me and I used to work that and I used to be [...]
(PS22C) [...]
George (PS22D) [863] [...] turn the crane round one way then the other and he got on the same lever but today they got, cos they got big lovely cranes where they stand there with four levers, four controls they've got and it goes up and down.
[864] And the jib goes up and down quite easily.
(PS22C) [865] I see what sort of crane did you call them, the new ones?
George (PS22D) [866] These are luffing cranes.
(PS22C) [867] Loving?
George (PS22D) [868] Luff
(PS22C) [869] Luffing?
George (PS22D) [870] [spelling] L U F F I N G [] .
(PS22C) [871] They're the modern ones.
George (PS22D) [872] They're the modern ones, luffing cranes.
(PS22C) [873] The old cranes sounded quite dangerous.
George (PS22D) [874] They were yes, well you could swing them grabs out and come [...] the wire still [...]
(PS22C) [875] Were there ever any accidents with them?
George (PS22D) [876] Oh goodness yes.
(PS22C) [877] What
George (PS22D) [878] I done plenty of damage.
(PS22C) [879] [laugh] You did?
George (PS22D) [880] I got threatened with the sack once.
(PS22C) [881] [laugh] What did you do?
George (PS22D) [882] Well I went through a ship's bridge, broke the wheel up top, I did, cos you, at that time, see [...] how things improve all the time, now [...] jib and all that is, that's thirty five feet long.
[883] Mine was only twenty feet long, the one I was driving, twenty feet long jib.
[884] Now on that twenty feet long, now I'm up about say, you can say anything like about fifteen feet up in the [...] in the air, might be less than that and then you got twenty feet up like that, well then there used to be wire and used to have a big wheel in top, which you couldn't go over the top and [...] with a wire, then I used to have a sling chain, my main hook and that was thirteen foot long and you take th that and on, on working on top of the lorry, see you got to be so careful and there's men working on that lorry as well, course I broke the [...] wheel.
(PS22C) [885] What happened?
George (PS22D) [886] They got a new one, they had another, then they had another idea then, they came round and had erm, had, turned round and said, right they done away with part of the wire and they got another big wheel so you can go right over the top next time, they done away with the big hook, so you could shackle your, your chain on to the wire, then you could go right over the top and then they get the old short chains like that.
[887] [...] thirteen foot six, they got little short chains like a lot better.
(PS22C) [888] Did you get into trouble for breaking
George (PS22D) [889] Trouble yeah, trouble I got put off for a fortnight, on the dole, then he, I was on the dole for a week and er he cos at that time you had to appear in front of the erm, what they call the Court of Referees at the Labour Exchange, that was their Committee.
[890] You had to appear in front of them, well this, I'd been off for a week [clears throat] and the old Harbourmaster old he sent for me and he said erm, you can start work tomorrow as I [...] .
[891] Right I said I'll start tomorrow morning, I go to the Labour this afternoon, Court of Referees.
[892] Yes, he said, I should go, and he wouldn't come, cos he ain't got no answer to it you see, anyway I went and I started back the next morning, he called me back.
[893] [...] that one alright.
(PS22C) [894] Was it usual to be stood off if you did something wrong for the [...] ?
George (PS22D) [895] Oh goodness, yes [...] for the damage and you had to go in front of the Harbourmaster.
(PS22C) [896] This was the Ipswich Dock Commission [...] ?
George (PS22D) [897] Ipswich Dock Commission coo dear.
(PS22C) [898] And they would generally stand you off work for a while, that was your punishment?
George (PS22D) [899] That's punishment, yeah, they would either do that or there was one driver down there [clears throat] he broke a wheel, that weren't his fault, and he had to pay for it, he had to go in the office like I did once.
[900] I had to go in the office every Friday night and I was only earning about two pounds seventeen and six a week and they use and Deputy Harbourmaster, Captain , he say, how much you earned this week he [...] say, three pound, I'm asking you four he say, well they'd take it off you [clears throat] and er you'd be paying it now, takes about six months, and he [...] old Harbourmaster see you about the quay he said.
[901] Want you in the office and he'd give it all back again
(PS22C) [902] [laugh] Did he really?
George (PS22D) [903] [...] he only done, they only done that to learn you a lesson.
(PS22C) [904] Yeah.
George (PS22D) [905] [clears throat] Dear oh dear, cos he weren't allowed, he weren't allowed to stop money, cos that's against the law to pay for damages.
(PS22C) [906] Didn't they ever get caught out then?
George (PS22D) [907] No, no, he daren't say anything cos if you got, you said anything you got the bloody sack.
(PS22C) [908] Did you have any union?
George (PS22D) [909] Pardon?
(PS22C) [910] Did you have any union?
George (PS22D) [911] Oh yeah [...] yeah, I had a union. [...]
(PS22C) [912] And didn't, didn't the union question why they were taking money?
George (PS22D) [913] No [...] well I did, old, old erm what's his name now coo dear [...] there was one old boy he, he, he well he [...] union on this Court of Referees and er cos we got to hear of it.
[914] Somebody said, well the Harbourmaster's not coming, I said, right go back to work and that's the time I, that's the time when we had the first baby and erm, that's the first one we lost and anyhow they put me off for a fortnight and erm I went down to, I say go up the Board of Guardians, that was like the D H S S but a little bit lower and I just start to buy this house [clears throat] soon as I said to this bloke, he live in the council house over here this bloke, what was interviewing me ...
(PS22C) [laugh]
George (PS22D) [915] where do you live, I say oh you're buying your own house?
[916] I said yeah just started, course if I'd have paid money off I said [...] lived on it you see
(PS22C) [917] Mm
George (PS22D) [918] and there be twenty eight shillings a week, that's all I allowed him and because that was even better than labour money and so [...] the day, they, I had to keep that they stopped all me labour, so cos I had the money you see.
(PS22C) [919] They stopped that?
George (PS22D) [920] They stopped it see, so I didn't gain anything out of it, me mates at work they made a collection for me in their way [...] .
(PS22C) [921] Did the union act for you at this particular time then?
George (PS22D) [922] Oh, they did yes oh yes.
(PS22C) [923] What I was wondering was when you said that the dock stopped the money for payment for damages, they'd paid it back to you.
[924] Didn't the union question why they [...] ?
George (PS22D) [925] No, no, no none of that, union didn't know we were paying.
[926] Because I knew, the fella that done the damage before I did [...] the same thing, he said to me, he say you carry on [...] you'll get it back.
(PS22C) [927] And so you never told the union?
George (PS22D) [928] So I didn't tell the union.
(PS22C) [929] How much [...] [laugh]
George (PS22D) [930] So he say they'll give it to you back [...] so that's what they done they give me me money back, cos they'd already give him back his, you see.
(PS22C) [931] Yeah.
[932] Were there ever any strikes at the docks?
George (PS22D) [933] Oh, goodness yeah but now they, even today, I mean they have a strike and that's settled just like that.
(PS22C) [934] Is it?
George (PS22D) [935] Yes, goodness.
(PS22C) [936] Was it not settled quickly before.
[937] When you were there?
George (PS22D) [938] No, no it weren't, not when a general strike in nineteen twenty six, that was a bad one. [clears throat]
(PS22C) [939] That's when everybody came out together was it [...] ?
George (PS22D) [940] Everybody come out, yes.
(PS22C) [941] Well were there ever any strikes that have just affected the docks?
George (PS22D) [942] No, not really.
[943] I mean I've known little strikes there last about a couple of days and they all got over it.
[944] They always used to give way to 'em.
(PS22C) [945] What would, what would they have been over?
George (PS22D) [946] Anything, more money, that was the main thing, more money.
(PS22C) [947] And they wouldn't last that long?
George (PS22D) [948] No, no, cos you had, see they, these big people they didn't wanna be into it they [...] same getting their money, like and and ,,, they didn't want strikes.
[949] They al always used to, all used to finish up down here any rate.
[950] Alright give 'em it.
(PS22C) [951] Didn't that encourage more strikes though? [laugh]
George (PS22D) [952] No it didn't, no the people,th the dockers were pretty reasonable, they were [clears throat] now I will say that dockers [...] pretty reasonable.
[953] That's what I say to a lot of people today, they moan about dockers [...] but they're only fighting for their rights.
[954] That's all.
(PS22C) [955] Mm.
George (PS22D) [956] I mean lot of my children go over the limit but erm they stir up too much [...] .
(PS22C) [957] But in general that was er
George (PS22D) [958] That was er
(PS22C) [959] give and take.
George (PS22D) [960] give and take, was yes.
[961] Cos there's some, they used to be carrying timber down the dock [...] all one length and what [...] already slung, already stacked for 'em and the way it cost, the way it go [...] put the wires on me for sure now and there ain't much to let now.
(PS22C) [962] You mention a little while ago.
[963] Who were ?
George (PS22D) [964] They were tim timber merchants.
[965] They used to saw timber down for planks and that, they had er place in Hull and a place in Ipswich.
[966] that was.
(PS22C) [967] Where were they positioned on the dock?
George (PS22D) [968] They were down at Cliff Quay.
[969] They were, that's where is now.
[970] Cos , they sold out the , that's all now and I think came from Yarmouth, they used, they used to have a big place at Yarmouth and we came through the other week and er I see their sheds are nearly all empty now, there.
(PS22C) [971] What at the [...] Yarmouth?
George (PS22D) [972] At Yarmouth.
(PS22C) [...]
George (PS22D) [973] But as I say there ain't er, there ain't the timber used to, what there used to be [clears throat] .
[974] [...] down at [...] there was one ship down there, that [...] six weeks [...] move.
(PS22C) [975] What was, what were you unloading?
George (PS22D) [976] Timber, that were all loose timber [clears throat] that was during the war, six weeks, six weeks that took to unload that ship.
(PS22C) [977] That's a long while isn't it?
George (PS22D) [978] That was yeah.
(PS22C) [979] That always used to be a fortnight to three weeks to unload a ship but this one [...] ship, that was called, I remember that was called the lovely ship and that had been bombed, that had a bomb drop right on the [...] .
[980] Course and the bomb gone on the [...] broke the winches and that, and that had gone so far, you know, that timber, that has crushed the timber all, more or less all together.
(PS22C) [981] Al all the cargo inside was damaged?
George (PS22D) [982] Yeah.
(PS22C) [983] Where did this happen in the Channel?
George (PS22D) [984] In the Channel, well, It was coming over I suppose from America [clears throat]
(PS22C) [985] Did you have many boats coming in bomb damaged?
George (PS22D) [986] Yes we had one or two, we had one coal boat come in, [...] damaged. [clears throat]