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Messages - Albert

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1
Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: the connaught and ships
« on: 17 May, 2016, 04:12:19 PM »
Hi Ed,
No I left in late 1970 but strangely my memories of the stones are much stronger of the old stones just inside the Albert, maybe because all the dockers who were not already at work attended the call for all the shipping companies. Of course the stevedores had a seperate call in a pen next to Morgan's cafe.
In hindsight the old call was more of a ritual and performance because the regular gangs already knew what job they were going to as arranged by the gangers and the superintendents.
All the men not working would assemble on the pavement on the left just inside the Albert gates and the ship workers and superintendents were on the opposite kerb by the railway lines.The men assembled opposite the shipping company ship workers that they were hoping to get a job because we all knew what work on what ships was available and at 8am the ship workers crossed the road and called out the gangers name. The ganger then stepped into the road and all his regular men stepped forward and handed their pay book to the ganger. If the gang was short for any reason the ganger would take first men that they knew were good workers and then any other likely men.
So basically the only jobs you could get when you were a floater was with regular gangs who had men off sick or when a job called for extra men or when there was more than usual work and extra gangs were needed.
When this happened scratch gangs were employed and they generally got the worst jobs so floaters tried not to take these jobs but if they didn't then they had to go to the pool and take there chances on where they were allocated. When I was a floater and before I got known I got allocated to some really rubbish jobs where you worked really hard and never earned much money.
I don't suppose most people know that we worked a piecework system with a lower paid day work system as a fallback. This is why it was important to get into the best gang that you could because they got the best earning jobs and were the best at what they did. As you know Ed there was quite a lot of skill involved in loading and discharging ships in the shortest time despite what many outsiders think

Regards

Albert

2
Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: the connaught and ships
« on: 16 May, 2016, 04:09:08 PM »
Hi All,
Something that struck  me as I was thinking about the Royals was when they were building the City Airport was what happened to all the cargo that was accidentally dropped into the dock.
Some of the cargo like copper,lead and other non perishable cargo would still be there and I know personally of some of these things going into the water and not being retrieved. Generally this would have happened when cargo was being unloaded into barges on the side of the ship away from the quay. The cargo would be unloaded using the ship's winches could be a bit iffy depending the competence of the winch drivers.
Copper ingots were banded together in bundles of, if memory serves,20 ingots held together with steel bands and if these touched on the side of the barge they could slip out of the wire strops used to unload them. I know personally of two bundles that went into the dock at 13 shed KGV. I don't know whether or not these were reported but I never saw anything ever recovered. Maybe it was not worth the effort it would have taken.
There also used to be rumours of cars being dumped into the dock for various reasons such as getting rid of hot cars. I don't know of this myself and I think it wouldn't be easy to do with all the eyes about and the noise it would make.
I assume the dock was drained before filling it in so anything in there would be seen unless it had sunk into the mud. I've never heard any details of the filling in of the dock so maybe it wasn't an issue.

Albert

3
Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: the connaught and ships
« on: 13 May, 2016, 02:07:35 PM »
Hi Georgian And Ed,
Ships that used to berth along the south side of KGV from 14 shed at the Connaught end were Blue Funnel and/or Glen Line which were both managed by the same company. I worked in a regular gang for Blue Funnel and we would both discharge and load Glen boats and Blue Funnel boats at 13 shed and 14 shed.
At 10 and 8 sheds were the Union Castle and Clan boats. It was from 10 shed that I used to sail on the Rhodesia Castle when I was in the merchant navy.
At 6,4 and 2 sheds were the Port Line boats and the City line boats and during the course of my working life as a docker I have worked on all of these ships.
Like all dockers when first getting my ticket I was not attached to any gang and so was a floater meaning that I had show on the "stones" to try to get picked for work. These were the days when the Royals were really busy so there was plenty of work but if you were not successful you then had to go to the NDLB Pool where you lodged your pay book to be allocated to work anywhere that there was places in gangs either on the ship or quay. Usually these places were with gangs where someone hadn't turned up or more often they were the jobs that were not very good and nobody wanted them. If there was a really bad job hangers on the stones would struggle to get a gang and so the job would go to the Pool and men without a job would try to avoid putting their books in until "all books in" was announced.
I preferred working on the ship so would look for these jobs and when I was lucky enough to get with a good gang I would try really hard to impress in the hope of being offered a place in the gang if there was a vacancy which I eventually did.
While I was a floater I worked on most of the companies apart from the beef boats at the top of the dock.
The regular gang I was with joined Southern Stevedores under Devlin but I had an accident and was on a "C" book  and I was offered redundancy which I took before Ed joined Southern Stevedores so we never met.
A bit of a ramble I'm afraid but maybe this has clarified a few of Georgians queries and what it was like in the Royals in the sixties.

Albert

4
I haven't posted on the forum for quite some time mainly because of these ridiculous posts which really p*** me off. I also kept reporting them to the moderator but nothing ever got done so I just took the easy option and stayed away and I think a lot of others have done the same.
You're right Georgian something has got to be done but I don't know what. I remember the moderators used to be quite strict when posters even drifted slightly off what they considered to be not New am related.

Albert

5
Wouldn't it be better if we all ignored posts like this and the mirrors post in the books, film and TV section. Just report it to the moderator.

Albert

6
Some of the spellings suggest that David is American.

Albert

7
Hi Ron,
I think you must think you are older than you are. Jack Dash was active during the late fifties and the sixties.
Now doesn't that make you feel younger!
Albert

8
Hi Ed,
I think I do remember Jimmy Evans but memory isn't what it was but I worked with Ted Parkes and his brother when we were all floaters. I can't believe Ted Parkes had his own gang but I think I know who Joe the Nose was. After working with several regular gangs at the Star,the Port Line, the B.I. and Union Castle I settled into Freddy Copsey's gang at the Blue Funnel and Glen Line where did loading and discharging.
Some great memories such a working on the Rhodesia Castle the boat I first sailed on as a laundry boy in 1961 and so many others but unfortunately  modernisation caught up with us and destroyed a way of life.
Hi Vic, I'm probably ten years younger than you but no doubt our paths must have crossed because as you know gangs were more often than not composed of men of different ages.
There were good times and hard times but I'm glad I had the experiences.

Albert

9
Hi Ed,
I 'm amazed there are not more old dockers or stevedores on this site other than you and me. I was a Docker before Devlin and although I was a casual I was in a regular gang that worked at the Blue Funnel and Glen Line we were allocated to Southern Stevedores under recapitalisation.
I was a member of the blue union although I was a docker like my father and brother. The main difference between dockers and stevedores was that stevedores only worked on the ship loading and discharging but dockers did the same but also worked on the quayside and in the sheds. Over the years the stevedores lost work to the dockers which I think was the reason the stevedores union the National Amalgamated Stevedores and Dockers took dockers into their union.
There were many more dockers than stevedores and most ships were worked by dockers rather than stevedores also dockers did all the quay work. There were two separate calling on areas for dockers and stevedores. The dockers was just inside the gates of the Albert and the stevedores was inside a gated compound  next to Morgans cafe.
Regular gangs were more like families and looked out for each other and often went to functions together and the longer they worked together the closer they became.
Some gangs specialised in loading or discharging but we did both often unloading a Glen boat at 13 shed in KGV and then loading the same ship at 14 shed KGV.
Decasualisation and containerisation was the beginning of the end for a way of life that many dockworking families had led for generations.
There was obviously a fair amount of bad times but generally most dockers were content with the status quo but you can't stop progress and in the end were powerless to do anything about it.

Albert

10
Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: Glad to see the back of ...
« on: 05 August, 2015, 10:23:35 AM »
Hi Brenda,
If  your dad came home with a sore red back he wouldn't have been unloading the meat you saw on the video. They were lambs and they were not carried on the back but loaded into the nets that you saw. What your dad would have been unloading was beef either as sides or forequarters which were both carried on the back. Some of the sides of beef were heavier than the man carrying them. If that was what he was unloading then he would have been working at what we called the top of the dock which was the top end of the Victoria dock by the Silvertown Way and so he would not have caught a bridger as I did quite often as I worked mainly in the KGV and had to go home through the Connaught.
Albert

11
Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: Christmas loan clubs
« on: 17 June, 2015, 12:59:55 PM »
Hi Georgian,
I lived in Randolph Road with relations in Churchill Road and Baxter Road.
They all used to drink in the Nottingham Arms and were members of the pub loan club but for some reason there was a dispute with the loan club so they decided to start their own private loan club in the mid fifties.
My dad ran the loan club which gradually got bigger and bigger and friends, neighbours and workmates were allowed to join so that people from most of the surrounding streets were members.
Loan night was Friday night and people were in and out of our house and our street door was left open so that they could just walk in. Can you imagine that happening in later years. I cant remember when my dad packed the loan club up but I believe it was in the early seventies as it was becoming dodgy to have so much cash too easily available.
Albert

12
Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: Old Sayings, Stories and Rhymes
« on: 17 June, 2015, 12:35:11 PM »
Hi Nan,
I remember the saying as "fart in a colander"

Albert

13
Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: School 'Houses'
« on: 27 November, 2014, 02:43:54 PM »
Hi Jenny,
I do remember Mr Bunn and Mr French. In fact Mr French was my French teacher in later years but you know how memory can play tricks and I was confusing his name with the subject and thinking I was wrong.
If I remember correctly he was a small grey haired man and quite a contrast with Mr Peters who used to wear a bow tie with an almost Poirot type moustache and even wore a beret in the French style.

Albert

14
Newham memories and nostalgia / Re: Ice Cream Parlours
« on: 07 November, 2014, 10:17:31 AM »
Hi Harry,
There was an ice cream factory further from the Volunteer over the next hill and just before the Tiger garage on the Lodge Avenue roundabout. I think it was Walls but I'm not sure. I can't place the Dicky Birds factory but I remember Bulgins factory which just along from where Bobby Moore lived as a child.
Albert

15
The concrete shelters on the hills in the Beckton Road were anti aircraft gun emplacements and the wooden huts nearby which were used after the war by squatters and later as changing rooms for the football pitches.
I'm pretty sure that the smell was from people using them as toilets.
Like lots of local kids we spent hours playing on and in the shelters which were bricked up after the war but the kids soon knocked the bricks out so we could get inside.
Albert

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