The Newham Story

Support => About the Forums => Topic started by: KenM on 03 February, 2019, 11:57:32 AM

Title: Smoggy days
Post by: KenM on 03 February, 2019, 11:57:32 AM
Hi all, can anyone recall the really bad smoggy day when Newham came to a standstill?
The visibility was almost zero, the buses along Silvertown Way were crawling, with the conductor walking in front.
I was working at T&L Plaistow Wharf & the slow walk home to Custom Hse took ages.
It must have been in the 50s but when exactly?
Title: Re: Smoggy days
Post by: harry on 03 February, 2019, 08:28:08 PM
Hi Ken I remember those fogs and remember riding my bike all the way from Jupp Road Stratford to Varley Road and remember actually walking the bike most of the way as you could only see about six foot in front of you .
I had a white silk scarf round my nose and mouth and when i got home ytou should have seen the soot etc that I would have been inhaling on that journey!!!.
I think that might have been around 1952 as that was when lots of people died because of the effects of the smog our nan being among them.
I thought I would reply to your post as I think most viewers got lost in a similar smog??
Regards Harry.I.
Title: Re: Smoggy days
Post by: MickG on 03 February, 2019, 10:51:32 PM
I remember in 1962/3 there was an absolute pea-souper of a smog where all traffic including public transport and trains came to a halt. At the time I was a telegram boy on a motorbike working out of Telephone House in Woodgrange Road. Although there had been fogs before, none were as bad as this. The smog lasted several days and gradually got worse as time passed. I remember initially we were still out delivering telegrams as a rider can see far more than a driver in a car, bus or lorry. We soon became aware that wherever we went, we had a stream of traffic following us. It was a case of follow the leader.

We eventually bought gauze masks to wear over our face and noses and even after a short trip, the cotton wool had turned jet black. The smog was so thick, in many cases it was not even possible to make out the glow of the street lamps above out heads. In the end, even the motorbikes were grounded and the air was considered too dangerous to let anyone go out on foot.

I seem to recall the smog was so think, even pedestrians were bumping into each other.

 I think it was the last time we had smog in London.
Title: Re: Smoggy days
Post by: DougT on 10 February, 2019, 09:21:22 PM
I also think it was the last time we had smog in London as I think the Clean Air act came in very soon after. The smog seemed to last for ages although I think it was only 4 or 5 days at the beginning of December. It was my first year at work and I think we were allowed to leave the office 30 minutes early. At the time my mother worked in Caters in High Street North and one evening the boss kindly offered her a lift home in his car. I think she said it took the best part of an hour to drive from Myrtle Road to Strone Road where the boss abandoned his car and decided to walk the rest of the way home to Woodford. Around 3 weeks after the smog we had the very heavy snowfall which disrupted life for 5 or 6 weeks.
Title: Re: Smoggy days
Post by: Bob L on 12 February, 2019, 10:01:51 PM
Hi Mick

I think I remember this smog. I was in Park infant school at the time and we were all kept in until an adult came to collect us. I remember cars had fog lamps (I think that is the correct name) fixed to the front bumper.
Title: Re: Smoggy days
Post by: ed styles on 22 March, 2019, 05:38:59 PM
Harry ,
       first of all I remember only to well the fogs of 52 , when my poor old Dad was taken bad with breathing and chest pains as a result of the winter smog ,he struggled on try to breath and in the june of next year 53 he passed away .On a lighter note he also brought home in early 52 a pet monkey he bought up the Lane ,and later in 53 he also died of the winter weather , bruv and I buried him at the bottom of our garden , and years later the whole of our street 's bottom section of gardens were taken over by the water board , something to do with widening the river into Barking Creekmouth . We often wonder if that section were dug up again and they came across the monkey skeleton would we get a visit from the boys in blue .
allthe best Ed
Title: Re: Smoggy days
Post by: ed styles on 22 March, 2019, 05:54:41 PM
        yep , remember the 62-3 I'll take your word on the date , . At that time I was an Apprentice in the Docks and was working on a Ship in the Albert , and mid afternoon we were told to go ashore and make our way out of the Docks , apparently the P.L.A. had closed all the Royals and all work had shut down , I'm assuming to stop anybody falling into the Dock and then impossible to find in the fog .
I know this from 2 friends on different occasions who lost their life when falling in the water in the Dock and River , very sad.
 All the best Ed
Title: Re: Smoggy days
Post by: harry on 23 March, 2019, 10:44:36 AM
Hi Ed I heard this mentioned a couple times a story that if you fell into the docks or the river Thames you were kept in hospital for 36 hours under observation because of foul state of the water in those arears  true or false what do you reckon???.  Regards Harry.I.
Title: Re: Smoggy days
Post by: KenM on 23 March, 2019, 11:40:21 AM
Hi Harry, the treatment anyone who fell into to Thames or dock water was swift, they were rushed to hospital where the dreaded stomach pump was applied to empty all the contents & then kept under close observation for 24 hrs.
I am told that you feel as weak as a kitten after the stomach pump treatment, the need for speed got in the way of gentle handling.
It was amazing how quickly the PLA ambulance appeared, no mobile phones in those days.
This was PLA routine procedure & strictly applied.
Title: Re: Smoggy days
Post by: ed styles on 23 March, 2019, 12:52:05 PM
Harry     Ken.
                   I believe what Ken said was correct in the stomach pump bit , but the 2 cases I referred to neither were recovered the same day , and also not during the winter . Both resulted on a massive bang on the head anda fall into water .The earlier one one in 66 was on the River by Tate Modern and he was working for Mowlems on a Piling barge and the winch handle snapped and ran back and smashed his head and into and under the barge which as you know has a flat bottom. he was not recovered till the next day stuck under the barge ,he was my best mates younger brother .
The second fatality was when i was workingon a New Zealand Rangi boat the currant Chippy was replaced by a N.Irish guyb  sent over from the Pool , he had never been to sea before so he told me , and one of the important jobs as a ships carpenter when in Port is to take on fresh Water from a hydrant on the quay next to the dock. We found out later the next day on changing the hoses over the fitting jammed and he struggled when it suddenly unclipped and came back at him andsmashed him on the head and he went into the water and was found by PLA. Divers that evening .

These events were personal to me , but I.m sure there were many more .

 All the best Ed
Title: Re: Smoggy days
Post by: linda co on 23 March, 2019, 05:50:02 PM
I think I've mentioned it on here before that my mum started her nurses training at The Seamans Hospital in Alnwick Road E16 in 1947. She remembers many cases of men falling in the Dock and being brought in to have their stomachs pumped!
Title: Re: Smoggy days
Post by: KenM on 24 March, 2019, 11:35:28 AM
Many of us take the role of nurses lightly, when in fact they do a wonderful job.
What an experience for a young nurse starting her training, maybe having to restrain a 15 stone sweaty docker in shock. They are worth there weight in gold.
Title: Re: Smoggy days
Post by: linda co on 24 March, 2019, 04:06:19 PM
Thank you Ken, yes mum has lots of  wonderful stories of her time spent nursing. She eventually became a District Nurse in East Ham, at first riding round on a bike and later she drove a dark blue Morris Minor like Gladys Emmanuel in Open all Hours. In 1983 she met the Queen when the Queen opened the new St Bartholomews Centre in the Barking Road. The doctors that mum worked with had transferred there from Central Park. She still hears from the families of some of her old patients.