1971 - The Last Dockside Steam Crane Dismantled
November. The last of the dock-side steam cranes was dismantled. It ran along the west side of No. 14 dry dock and was one of four erected when the dry dock was widened and extended in 1914. The cranes had a lifting capacity of 30 tons. The last job it did was erecting its successor, a 25 ton electric travelling crane. A former Dockie had fond memories of this crane especially of a sunny morning when the dockyard men came to work at seven o’clock and the crane drivers who started half an hour earlier to light the boilers had the fires going; and the lovely smell of burning wood drifted over the dock-side. It was always a dirty chore at the end of the day when the fires were put out and the ashes had to be brought down from the crane. The chopping of wood was a frequent sight on docksides and in workshops for boiler and forge fires. Often rivet forges were a source for illicit boiling of water for a quick brew which would often earn the rivet boy a six penny piece; consequently kindling for fires were often referred to as kettle shores or kettle shoring.