Posts Tagged ‘docks’

Industrial Archaelogy 1988

Monday, October 26th, 2020

Some photographs from a GLIAS (Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society) coach trip to Gloucestershire in 1988. For most of the time it rained, rather restricting my photography.

Lock gates, Lydney Harbour, 1988 88-7a-62-positive_2400

Lydney Harbour was built in 1810-3 to carry iron ore and coal from the Forest of Dean. These were brought to the harbour by a tramway built in 1809. Coal continued to be shipped from here until 1960 and the harbour only closed in 1977. It was scheduled as an ancient monument in 1985 and later reopened for leisure use More recently there have been some restoration work and a £2.1m Destination Lydney Harbour project began in June 2020 to develop the area for recreation and tourism. An outer Sea gate from the River Severn leads into a Tidal basin, then a lock connects to the dock and Lydney canal. The upper lock gate is a double gate to protect against high tides in the estuary.

The harbour is the mouth of the River Lyd, and a canal leads a mile inland to Lydney. The swing bridge across the canal between the upper and lower parts of the dock was Grade II listed in 1988. Apparently timber was still carried in barges along the canal until around 1980.

Cookson Terrace, Harbour Rd, Lydney, 1988 88-7a-43-positive_2400

Cookson Terrace on Harbour Rd is a row of cottages built in 1858 as a hotel and housing by the Severn and Wye Railway and Canal Company, Grade II listed in 1988.

Blast furnace, Gunns Mills, Flaxley, Forest of Dean, 1988 88-7b-63-positive_2400

Gunns Mills, Flaxley, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire is a Grade II* Listed Building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, being probably the oldest surviving blast furnace in the country, dating to 1683. The mill was named after William Gunne who owned an earlier mill on the site. A charcoal blast furnace built here in 1629 was demolished by Parliament in 1650. The furnace was rebuilt in 1683 but went out of use in 1743 when this became a paper mill which closed in 1879, after which some buildings on the site were used as farm buildings.

Gloucester Docks, 1988 88-7b-55-positive_2400

The main site for our visit was Gloucester Docks, a remarkable collection of fifteen Victorian dock buildings around the main basin, built in 1827 as the terminus of the ship canal from Sharpness, and the Barge Arm, provided at the same time to stop barges cluttering up the dock. A new dock, the Victoria Dock, was added in 1847 and further warehouses were added to deal with the increased foreign imports after the 1846 repeal of the Corn Laws.

As the size of vessels increased a new dock was built at Sharpness; larger vessels were unloaded there, with some goods being carried by barges up the canal, while smaller ships continued to use the canal. The docks remained busy until the 1960s but commercial traffic had largely disappeared by the 1980s. Since then the dock has become of popular leisure and residential area both for boaters and tourists.

Old Sharpness Canal entrance, 1988 88-7b-24-positive_2400

The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal was for some years the broadest and deepest canal in the world, intended to be 18ft deep and 86.5ft wide. Authorised in 1793, building was held up by financial difficulties and it was only completed in 1827. 16.3 miles long, it avoided a large loop in the River Severn with a dangerous bend. By 1905 traffic along it had reached 1 million tons a year. Our coach took us for a brief visit to the Old Sharpness Canal entrance, opened in 1827 but no longer in use, before going to Sharpness Dock, opened in 1874 to allow larger ships which could not use the canal to dock. This is still a working dock and most of the older buildings have been replaced by more modern structures.

Sharpness Docks, 1988 88-7c-51-positive_2400

I don’t actually remember much of that visit, but the photographs remain, around a hundred of them, though I’ve only included around 30 in the album. I do remember our coach back to London being held up on the motorway and arriving back in central London hours later than planned, having to run across Waterloo station to just jump on the last train home, minutes before midnight.

More pictures from the trip in a Flickr Album.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Goole 1983

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

When I told my mother-in-law, a life-long Hull resident, that I was taking a day trip to photograph Goole she shook her head in disbelief, asking me whyever I would want to do that. She wasn’t a great fan of my pictures of Hull either, thinking I dwelt far too much on its less salubrious areas and on those old and dilapidated warehouses and derelict docks.

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My only regret looking back is that I didn’t visit Goole more often. True its name isn’t inspiring – but then neither is Hull, perhaps why its more prosperous residents like to remind you it is really called Kingston upon Hull. For some reason the name Goole on Ouse has never been considered, though perhaps it should be Goole upon Dutch River or Don, which was diverted to meet the Ouse here in 1629 by Cornelius Vermuyden, not for the benefit of the few villagers of Goole, but to improve the hunting at Hatfield Chase for King Charlea I. But Goole got a bridge over the new river and barges could carry coal along it from the South Yorkshire coalfield at it could then be transferred to sea-going vessels.

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In the 1820s the Aire and Calder Navigation opened a connection to the Dutch River and began the construction of docks and a new town at Goole. The canal opened in 1826 and in 1827 Goole became an official port with custom facilities, its docks able to handle vessels up to 400 tons. It’s main export remained coal until Thatcher closed the mines, with a system of compartment boats – the ‘Tom Puddings’ and special hoists giving a very efficient means to transfer the coal into seagoing ships. Timber was the main import, in part for use as pit props.

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Railways first came to Goole in 1848 with a line to Pontefract and Wakefield, but it after the North Eastern Railway line from Doncaster to Hull was built in 1870 that the railway really became important. It was this route from Doncaster that I travelled on many times from and to the south between 1970 and now through Goole; sometimes the train stopped there, but more often travelled through at a leisurely pace, giving time to appreciate its landmark ‘salt an pepper’ water towers before swinging east to cross the River Ouse. But I never got off there until my first day trip in 1983.

The Victorian ‘New Goole’ seemed to have survived reasonably well, and gave a remarkable access to the docks (in those days they were a little less fettered by health and safety), and I spent a full day wandering around and taking pictures, particularly in black and white, but with some in colour too. I’ve returned more recently and it is still an interesting place to visit, though a little less so.

More colour pictures of Goole on Page 3 of Hull Colour 1972-85.

More black and white pictures on Hull Photos.

Hull Colour – 4

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020
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Humber Bridge, Hull ca.1980

I’m not sure from exactly where I took this view of the Humber Bridge under construction, but I was fortunate enough to go on a tour of the construction organised for a group of science teachers, and it could have been made during that visit, though I don’t remember taking any colour pictures then. The bridge took around 9 years to build and was completed and opened in 1981.

The mill visible on Hessle foreshore was built around 1810 to grind the chalk that was being quarried here into whiting, finely powdered chalk used as a filler in paint and, together with linseed oil to make putty, in whitewash, gesso and ceramic glazes etc. The windmill went out of use about a hundred years ago, losing its cap and sails and the quarry closed in 1970. The area is now a country park.

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Humber Bridge, Hull ca.1980

After the cables were spun the box-girder sections of bridge decking were added, beginning in November 1979 and this picture must have been made shortly after this. Wikipedia states “the Humber Bridge was the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world for 17 years.”

When our family was travelling to Hull by train in the 1980s we would look out for the Humber Bridge in the distance to know we were getting close to our destination. I always offered a small cash prize for the first of our party to spot it through the train window, but think I never had to pay it out as I always saw it before the others.

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River Humber, Hull 1980

The Humber has always seemed more mud in motion than a river, always a dirty brown colour, and it is only the small waves that differentiate between the river and the shore in this view. The mud and sandbanks in the estuary are always moving, and for many years ships travelling up the river to Hull or Goole needed the services of the Trinity House pilots, who started offering their services in 1512 and in 1581 were granted a charter authorising them to examine and licence pilots and take charge of ships. Various Acts of Parliament followed to endorse and regulate their activities, but the 1984 Pilotage Act transferred responsibility to the ports. In 2002 Associated British Ports terminated the authorisations of all Humber Pilots and employed their own pilots directly.

You can now walk along an esplanade along what had been the river frontage of Victoria Dock and various ship-building and other related businesses but only as far as what was the Alexandra Dock and is now ‘Green Port Hull’, a a wind energy manufacturing plant and riverside quay. I think this picture was probably taken just a little further downriver than the path now takes you.

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Humber Dock Side, Hull 1980

There were some blue sheds on the dock side of Humber Dock that were demolished when the dock was dredged and converted into Hull Marina, and these had painted steel columns and wooden sides. The marine air had over the years produced this incredible rusting, lifting up the thick painted layers.

The buildings at the right of the picture are still there, though considerably altered on Humber Place at its junction with Wellington St, and are now Francis House, the offices of an accountancy firm, though the Wellington St building at extreme right has been demolished.

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Railway Dock, Hull 1980

Although Hull lost some of its most impressive warehouses to a road scheme which split the Old Town from the city centre to take the heavy traffic for the King George Dock to the east of the city, some of those beside Railway Dock were retained, with the three gables shown here still visible, though the mass at the extreme right has been demolished.

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Railway warning, Hull 1980

King Billy, King William III or William of Orange, successfully invaded Britain in 1688 in what is sometimes called the ‘Glorious Revolution’. James II was unpopular, largely because he was a Catholic and was seen to be changing Britain to a Catholic country, suspending anti-Catholic measures by decree when Parliament refused to do so and prosecuting Anglican bishops for seditious libel. His actions prompted anti-Catholic riots and many leading political figures of the day invited William to come and take over the country. But there were also leading Catholic members of the aristocracy who defended James and the ‘divine right of kings’ to overule all others, including Parliament. One of them was the governor of Hull, Lord Langdale, who took the military to occupy the city of Hull, fearing that William of Orange might try and land there. But instead of coming across the North Sea, William’s fleet went down the Channel and landed at Brixham on Novermber 5th, marching from there to London. The army deserted James and he fled to France on December 11th.

Hull had remained under Catholic control until December 3rd, when Protestant officers, hearing of a plot to imprison them, got together and arrested Langdale and his Catholic supporters. The day was celebrated in Hull for many years as ‘Town Taking Day’ when many wore orange sashes and celebrated with a procession, church service and fireworks in the Market Square – and around the statue of King Billy after it had been erected there in 1734.

Market Place is very much a backwater in the Old Town now, on the edge of the busy A63 and with one side occupied by some of the city’s most tedious buildings, as well as the rear end of Holy Trinity. Since the listed public toilets under King Billy closed there are few reasons to go there.

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Re-used Railway warning notice, Hull. 1980

A dockside building with a doorway closed with boards from a notice that was once beside one of the swing bridges, probably that taking Wellington St across the Humber Dock lock, warning people it is an offence to pass the warning lights onto the bridge or be on it while it is moving.

A public footpath crosses the swing bridge into Albert Dock, and some time in the early 1980s while I was out walking with my family I notice that my wife and younger son in a push-chair were no longer following me. I turned around an looked for them, eventually spotting them on the bridge which was turning around to admit a ship to the dock. They had walked past the warning lights before they had been activated and the bridge operator, do doubt thinking only of the lorries which went across, had failed to spot a young woman already on the bridge with a baby buggy. She got a free ride and profuse apologies rather than a fine.

One of Hull’s minor tourist attractions, perhaps inspired by notices such as these, is now a footbridge across the River Hull on which people are allowed to ride. Unfortunately ship movements up the Hull are now extremely rare and the bridge almost never operates in anger, but there are scheduled tests most if not all weekends on which I’ve taken a couple of rides.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


From the Royals

Monday, July 13th, 2020

I find to my surprise that it is very nearly seven years since I self-published my book ‘The Deserted Royals‘ and wrote a little about it here. Some of you who follow me on Facebook may have seen the rather wider range of pictures from that project made back in 1984 that I’m currently posting daily as my ‘story’ there, though I find Facebook particularly adept in hiding those posts I’d like to see and instead feeding me cats and celebs.

The ‘Royals’ in question are of course the Royal Docks, and most of my work was on the Royal Albert and King George V Docks in North Woolwich, by then part of the London Borough of Newham. I’d tried to photograph them from publicly accessible locations (with the usual mild bit of trespassing) but had found this very limiting, and wrote to the Port of London Authority who still owned these two docks, requesting permission to photograph them from the inside. Rather to my surprise they replied and granted me the access I’d requested. A similar letter to the owners of the Royal Victoria Dock went unanswered.

As well as the daily release on Facebook I will shortly be adding these pictures, along with others I took of London in 1984 to my Flickr album London 1984. At the moment it has pictures I took earlier in the year, including some from the West India Docks. I decided at the start of this year to put pictures on Flickr at a relatively high resolution and high quality and to trust any commercial users to respect my copyright and contact me to pay for usage. Although it’s almost certainly over-idealistic, I don’t think I’m likely to lose any significant income. I’ve used these larger images in this post and if you right click and open them in a new tab you can see them larger than in the post.

Here are a few of the pictures I’ve recently posted on Facebook, along with the usually short texts which accompany them, beginning below with an introductory picture and ending with today’s picture, about which I wrote a little more than usual.


South Quay, King George V Dock, Newham 1984
84-7c-21.
I had obtained permission from the PLA to photograph inside the dock area they owned – the King George V and Royal Albert Docks two docks on two days, and made my first visit in July. The security men in the gate house were clearly surprised that anyone should want to come and take pictures, but not very interested in what I did. Once inside there was no security presence and I could wander freely on the south quay of the King George V dock and on the central peninsula between the two docks, though their was no access to the north side of Albert Dock.
I was not supposed to enter any of the buildings, which could be unsafe, but I did take a number of pictures through windows and doorways, and later did cautiously enter some of the smaller buildings that seemed safe. On my first visit I exposed around ten rolls of black and white film – 360 exposures as well as some colour transparencies over around six or seven hours of work.
Iason and Ion are the two ships which could be seen in the distance in some pictures posted earlier, at the west end of the north quay of the King George V dock. To the left is the dry or graving dock at the west end of the dock, full of water.

King George V Dock, Newham 1984
84-7e-63.
A bollard and a more substantial shed on the land between the two docks, now the runway for London City Airport, looking roughly east. The row of cranes is along the north side of the King George V Dock.

Office curtain, King George V Dock, Royal Albert Dock, Newham 1984
84-7l-53.
This was one of the few pictures, possibly the only picture, where I used flash to capture the curtain blowing in the wind and to balance the light inside the office with that outside. It was quite a pretty curtain, a landscape with trees and something of a Japanese feel, but it was the wall-paper that attracted me more with its groups of small fishing boats in front of a shore with what was probably meant to be a fortress but looked to me more like a cement works like those further down the Thames.
Obviously the scene outside the window with its cranes was vital to the picture, and balancing the light levels inside and outside was no simple matter. Nowadays modern cameras do this kind of thing automatically but back then it involved calculations using distance and the flash guide number, careful exposure measurements through the window and a great deal of luck. It was made more difficult by the slow flash sync speed of all SLR cameras of the time, limited by their focal plane shutters, in this case to 1/60th of a second. I think it was the first time I’d tried to do anything like this, though I had read about it in photographic magazines and I only took a single frame, so it was definitely a case of beginner’s luck

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Hull Colour – 3

Sunday, July 12th, 2020
Humber Ferry, Hull 72hull057
PS Lincoln Castle – Humber Ferry, 1972

Before the Humber Bridge was opened in 1981, ferries transported passengers and cars across the Humber from the pier in Hull to New Holland in Lincolnshire, where a train service took passengers on to Grimsby and other stations. For drivers it avoided the journey to Boothferry Bridge near Goole, 28 miles away up river – and a similar journey back on the opposite bank. By the mid-70s an alternative route for many journeys had been provided by the M62 viaduct a mile or so east of the Boothferry Bridge – which largely removed the necessity for the Humber Bridge.

The Lincoln Castle was a great improvement on the other paddle steamers when she came into service in 1941, and was much loved by the time she was replaced by a more economical diesel-powered ferry in 1978. For a short time she was grounded on the beach at Hessle as a restaurant – where I went for afternoon tea – and later in the same role in Grimsby. By 2009 her condition had deteriorated and after attempts to preserve the ship failed was scrapped in 2010.

I travelled across on the ferry a couple of times, took a few pictures in New Holland and took the ferry back. It was a good family outing, particularly for our two young boys as the ship had been constructed to give passengers a good view of the engine room and steam engine.

Old Harbour, Hull  77hull045
Old Harbour, Hull 1977

You can still walk beside the River Hull in the Old Town, and it remains an interesting walk, but back in the 1970s there was still some commercial activity, and at the right times of the tide vessels would pass up or down past these largely redundant barges, moored here three deep.

This was the original harbour of Hull, before the docks were built, though there were many wharves upstream both in Hull and further north to Beverley and beyond, and the river remains navigable. Although traffic had dropped markedly there were still a number of industrial sites still using the river in the 1970s and into the present century.

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Old Town, Hull 1977

Wooden crates were being burnt in a bin down an alley and producing an almost comic book head of flame, a beacon in the shadow of the alley. Flames are always something of a challenge for photography, generally resulting in burned out highlights that have nothing to do with their temperature but simply their intensity. I was surprised that transparency film with its very limited exposure range handled this so well, more I think a matter of luck than expertise.

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Terrace, Hull 1981

Widely publicised as a “fairytale wedding” and the “wedding of the century”, the marriage Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on Wednesday 29 July 1981 clearly caught the imagination of many in Hull, and I photographed some of the decorations painted on derelict buildings and here on a typical Hull “terrace’, though I cannot remember its location.

Many of Hull’s roads have these short pedestrian terraces at right angles to the main street to pack more houses into a small area. Not all have such neatly maintained fences and gardens, but almost all are too narrow for them to have been converted to take cars.

The black cat halfway down the street didn’t bring the unhappy couple much luck.

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Wincolmlee, Hull 1980

Wincolmlee runs roughly parallel to the River Hull, on the road side of the wharves along its west bank, from the north of the Old Town up to Air St, a little over a mile. Lime St, runs in the same way on the east side of the river a little less than half the distance.

Much of Hull’s industry involved agricultural oils and there were storage tanks on both sides of the river. I think these colour-coded pipes probably linked some of them, but what attracted me as well as their colours were the clouds of steam.

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Scott warehouse, Hull 1980

Hull’s unlisted riverside properties have largely been demolished with some notable losses. But John A Scott’s warehouse in Alfred Gelder St was converted to flats around 1980, the work going on while I took this picture involving making windows in what had been a largely or entirely blank wall.

It isn’t in itself a very exciting building, but it’s river frontage now fits better with the listed building immediately downstream than a new build.

Quite a few buildings in the industrial area around Wincolmlee which in areas of higher property values – such as London – would have been converted to luxury flats have simply been demolished or are still largely derelict. But the area has perhaps been given a boost by the ‘Bankside Gallery’ of graffiti which sprang up following the intervention by Banksy.

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Mud, Hull 1980

I’m unsure as the the actual location or date of this picture – one of the great majority of my slides which lack any captioning. But it is certainly one of Hull’s docks, almost certainly Humber Dock, Railway Dock or Humber Dock Basin. The reflections in the wet mud give some clues, but not enough for me to be sure.

These docks close to the centre of the city had been unused for some years and were all heavily silted with Humber mud. Considerable dredging was required to make Humber Dock usable as Hull Marina, which opened in 1983.

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S Not W, Hull 1980

I deliberately cropped the message which I think was written on the wooden side of a dockside shed to give the rather enigmatic message ‘S NOT W’. Unfortunately I can no longer remember the entire text, though the letter after W is clearly E, and not as I hoped A for an anti-war slogan.

The saturated red which attracted me, at least in part because it matched the colour of the painted letters, was the roof of a car.

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British Extracting Co Ltd, Hull 1980

This former British Extracting Company silo on the side of the River Hull was built in 1919 and one of a number of similar buildings in Hull and elsewhere designed by Gelder & Kitchen of Hull. It has regularly been visited and photographed in recent years by urban explorers.

Sir Alfred Gelder (1855-1941) was born in North Cave and became a Hull councillor in 1895, serving five terms in a row as Mayor from 1898-1903 and overseeing the extensive redevelopment of the city after which he was knighted. He was Liberal MP for Brigg from 1910-1918. A Methodist, he founded his architectural practice in Hull in 1878 and designed a wide range of buildings including several Methodist chapels in the city and elsewhere as well as many flour and oilseed crushing mills, including the first roller mill for fellow Methodist Joseph Rank and other buildings for Ranks’s son, J Arthur Rank.

Llewellyn Kitchen, (1869-1948) from Manchester joined Gelder as chief assistant in 1892 after having worked for a number of architects elsewhere and soon became the junior partner in the practice, although he appears to have been the more interesting architect of the pair. Kitchen was also a leading freemason in the area.

Gelder and Kitchen LLP is still in business, the second oldest firm of architects in the UK today.


Hull colour

Thursday, July 9th, 2020
Humber Dock Basin, Hull 70shull052
Silted up dock. 1970s

I’m aware that its a while – over a year since I’ve written anything here about Hull, so here is the first of a short series of posts about a city where I’ve spent quite a lot of time photographing.

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King Billy, 1970s

I’ve never actually lived in Hull, but for around 35 years I visited the city regularly visiting my wife’s family home, where we stayed for at least a week every year, more in the earlier years. After that house was sold we had a good friend who was always pleased for us to stay with him in his large mansion, but since his death around ten years ago my visits have been less frequent.

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Old Town reflection, 1970s

During those visits to Hull I spent a lot of time on the streets taking photographs, sometimes out with other family members, but often on my own.

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Docks Notice, 1970s

Mostly I was photographing in black and white, working on a project that in the early 1980s became an exhibition (and much later a book) ‘Still Occupied – A View of Hull’. As well over a hundred black and white images, the show at the Ferens Gallery also included around 40 colour pictures, giving a more abstract view and concentrating on the docks and the River Hull and the riverside industries.

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D Marks & Sons. Possibly on Humber St, 1970s

At that time I worked in colour using 35mm transparency film and quite a few of the slides have either been discarded or deteriorated beyond recovery, while others have been lost. But a couple of months ago I found around 250 of the more interesting pictures and re-photographed them using a Nikon D810 fitted with a Nikon PB-6 bellows, Nikon 60mm f2.8 macro lens and PS-6 slide duplicating attachment.

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Dockside Shed, 1970s

The pictures here come from the first fifteen in the album, and the top one, which I think is probably of Railway Dock, shows the silted up state of the disused docks at that time. Those familiar with Hull will recognise ‘King Billy’ below this, reflected in the window of the pub where he is reputed to drink when the clock strikes thirteen. It’s a little harder to recognise the buildings reflected in the window below, particularly because the double image makes it seem more slender – or to read the rather minimal remains of the dockside notice that follows.

I can’t remember exactly where D Marks and Sons had their poulterers business, perhaps has the caption suggests on Humber St, but it could have been somewhere off the Hessle Rd. The distinctive blue shed was one of several around Humber Dock Basin.

Dockside shed, Hull 70shull046

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.