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Boys at Lydney Docks in 1956.

Lydney Docks 1956

Four photos of Lydney Docks taken in 1956 by Roy Dennis.

Roger added (May 2007): "Four shots, all taken by Roy Dennis, my father, in late summer, 1956.
Top: showing a salmon fisherman, whose rough-and-ready tackle and activities far out in the river, used to fascinate me. The Egypt / Ramis wreck in the background*.
Next: hulks on the northern side of the dock entrance and a still proud Severn Bridge in the background.
Next: hulks on the southern side of the dock entrance. Paradise for a child! The Egypt / Ramis wreck in the background.
Bottom:, another view of the southern hulks, my brother Ian on the left.
In 1976, I brought my wife down to the Docks, on a nostalgia trip. I was disappointed to find little sign of the hulks I'd once scrambled over. For that matter, the coal chutes had gone too. All very sad. I did get her to take a repeat shot though, with just me on the lamp ladder, which I was delighted to see still there".

* The name of the wreck was 'Rameses II'. It ran aground on 23rd March 1951 and was finally removed by 1960 - although part of the keel was left in the river bed. ("A Glance Back at Lydney Docks", by Neil Parkhouse, 2001 - Black Dwarf Lightmoor)

David Essex added (May 2007): "The docks played a very important part in my early life, for several reasons. First, I was forbidden to go there, by my Mother, which, of course, meant I had to!. Second, my maternal Grandfather, Bertram James Wiggell, worked for Crump Meadow Colliery and was in charge of a gang loading coal from the railway wagons onto ships and, thirdly, at least one member of the Sterrey family also worked there. Whenever I return to Lydney, I am still drawn like a magnet to the docks, and it is always my first port of call (no pun intended). One abiding memory is of the barge hulks lining the river bank, some names of which are still with me. The Llantony in the photo was one, and the Waveney another. My friends and I spent hours in the school holidays clambering over them and imagining what they were like before their ignominious end. Incidentally, my Grandfather told me that the wreck in the middle of the river was from Egypt, and was carrying grain when it foundered. Around 1958/9 I remember a salvage team working on it, equipped with a war-surplus DUKW. I believe they used explosives in the process of breaking it up and I, too, remember it becoming gradually less substantial than when I first sighted it. I also remember a dredger working in the lower basin, around 1960, and a group of we boys being invited on board to watch it working. The ship, itself, was covered in Severn mud, but the engine room was as clean as a hospital operating theatre. I also remember Lem Gardner, who lived a few hundred yards up from Pine End, towards the station, and a ship's lifeboat that he had added a superstructure to, called 'Princess Pat'. On occasions, she was used to pull barges loaded with huge logs, from the river to be unloaded by the overhead crane at Pine End. I can still remember the peculiar smell of the wet logs, which were very red in colour. My Father told me that, as a young man, he used to climb to the top of the coal tips and dive into the canal. This was confirmed by my Mother in later years. I, too, was disappointed to see the tips gone, in the early 'seventies".

Jane Sterry added (Oct 2008): "... my grandfather Harold Sterry worked at Lydney Docks for many years. He lived at Lydfield Road with his wife Ruby and 8 children. My mother was Margaret Sterry. I was born in Lydney in 1952 and spent many lovely days down the docks with my grampy and rode home with him when he finished his shift on the cross bar of his bike. I was also always forbidden to go anywhere near the water as my nan always said there were sinking sands there, but of course I did. My mum and I moved to Cardiff in 1959 and have lived there ever since, but I always get the calling to 'go up home' and I always make for the docks but my how its all changed. My family still live in and around Lydney. Lydney will always be home to me".

Note: The 'coal tips' mentioned above were devices at the side of the harbour that took in railway trucks full of coal from the railway line and "tipped" them on end to allow the coal to fall into barges in the harbour below. The empty trucks were then returned to the railway line.

image: Model of a tipping coal wagon

Roger added (May 2007): "Scratch-built 00 guage card model of a tipping coal wagon, made by Jeremy Dennis, my cousin. He is the eldest son of Douglas Dennis, pictured on the 1925 Bream school photo"

A photo of Jeremy Dennis modelling a GWR slip coach.
Above: Jeremy modelling a GWR coach.
Jeremy sadly passed away in 2015.

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