Taken in 1982

By Paul Smith

Images of the cranes taken by ex-Tideway pupil Paul Smith ( in 1982.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'NORTH QUAY CRANES' page
This page was added by Jackie Blackwell on 30/08/2007.
Comments about this page

The cranes don't exist now, but I used to drive them from 1978 until they were dismantled, I'm guessing mid 1980's. We used to unload coal, salt, granite sets and beach bowls (timber logs). There were also 4 cranes at the East Quay (Fishers) one of which nearly caused the death of me. I was unloading logs from the Con Zelo and I took the weight on the last grab of the day, the crane was overloaded as they could only lift about 2 tons. The back legs of the crane came off of the rails by about 3 feet. I dropped the load back onto the ship and the crane was on the point of no return. Harry Barnes, on the stevedores jumped onto the back of the crane to try to alter the point of balance. I don't think that made any difference but the crane bounced back onto the rails 3 or 4 times. I came down from the crane, apparently as white as a sheet.. it took me a long while before I ventured back up again.

By Alan Cooper
On 02/06/2008

Alan's comments bring back memories of my own experience on the North Quay cranes - like Alan, I used to drive cranes at both North Quay and Fishers, but I went one better by toppling the second crane (from the right, above) when landing timber onto the quayside. It seemed to take ages to topple over but all I could do was "hang on for grim death" inside the cab and watch the ground come up to meet me!! However, I walked from the crane with just a small scratch and a bruised shin, how lucky was that? I even resumed driving on one of the other cranes about an hour later.

Sounds like you had a really lucky escape Ian! When was this and did it get into the local papers?  It would be good to get a photo of it to add to the site... Jackie - Editor

By Ian Perry
On 04/08/2008

Alan, you would have been working for Faber Prest at the end of your working days, before that it was Southern Port Services. Do you recall the exploding reels of paper in the shed? What about Les Firmin in the scale house?

By R C
On 01/01/2015

I worked on the North Quay from 1970 to 1987 as a forklift driver (the later years in the timber yard up by the boat swinging area) the Railway gang used to do the unloading, then we used to stack it away. There where some great characters on the dock at that time. Most of them have passed now including Les Firmin.

By Bill Simmons
On 09/01/2015

Bit of an iconic sight this photo , I had to go onto the North quay with the handcart to get timber from the Baltic sawmills and then have the nightmare of pushing the thing back up the over the bridge without getting the wheel stuck in the railway track and up the High Street. I think I have said before on this site that I did get it stuck once and the policeman Bill Packham helped me push it back up to the yard in South Lane. It was a great source of laughter from the joinery shop when they saw me and Maurice the foreman thought I was skiving.

By Terry Howard
On 03/05/2019

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