Peter Marshall

A view of Hull

River Hull

28j21: Grassendale in Union Dry Dock, Great Union St, 1981 - River Hull
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Still Occupied

Images on this site are arranged into rough areas by location as in my book 'Still Occupied', available on Blurb. Eventually this site will contain all the images in that book and more.

The Grassendale, a 667 ton gross twin grab hopper dredger built by Richard Dunston Ltd at Hessle in 1954 was in the Union Dry Dock on Great Union St. It appears that Grassendale was owned by the British Transport Docks Board (now Associated British Ports) and was earlier based at Barrow in Furness but replaced in about 1978. She is also said to have been based at Garston and an undated postcard published by the magazine 'After the Battle" shows her at Fleetwood. The ship was broken up at Millom in Cumbria in 1987.
The ship was around 50.3m long and 10.4 m wide, reasonable fit in the dock which was 65.2 by 14.8 m according to Wikipedia. The dock, built in the first half of the nineteeth century was at the time of the photograph I think owned by Mersey Welding; it is still present, but was completely silted up. The shed at left and a brick building just out of this frame to the left are still there, with a sign in front for Blenco Welding Ltd on the pipe at the right of my picture. I think that company is no longer in business.
One of several photographs of the Grassendale on-line shows her at the entrance to Humber Dock Basin in 1980, presumably dredging in preparation for the reopening of Humber Dock as the Hull Marina in 1983.
Steve Bray (apprentice plater from 1970 -1976), now 64 emailed me to say.
After Drypool Engineering dissolved in 1976. The manager Len Langton started Ruscador’s ship repair company. It was originally sited on Alexander dock but they eventually bought the dry dock near Hull pier that used to belong to Drypool Engineering. They operated there until approx 1990 when it was sold to the family who know own Hull City football club. Len Langton died this year aged 93.
I replied:
Ruscador Ltd, incorporated in 1973, became Ruscador Shipyard Ltd in 1990 andwas a wholly owned subsidiary of Tempest Diesel Ltd which Assem Allam began buying out in 1981. It went bust in 1992 with all the workforce being put out of work. Allam Marine Ltd then bought up all the assets. The company still exists with Allam one of the two directors having twice been dissolved via compulsory strike-off and twice restored, the latest in 2015. The Central Dry Dock as you will know is now the Stage@TheDock amphitheatre.
Steve replied:
The son of Len Langton “Rob Langton” started his own ship repair company sometime in the late 1980’s I believe? It is called Mobile Marine Services. I lived near him in Beverley before I moved here to Scarborough in March this year. Around five years ago I gave him some guitar lessons but he was always too busy jet setting around the world to come regularly. His business has been very financially successful. I also saw him sometimes in Nelly’s (White Horse pub) in Hengate Beverley. I met him when I was aged 28 working for his dad at Ruscadors in 1983 - the dry dock on the pier. The local shipbuilders theory on why Ruscador went bust under Allam, is simply because Len Langton drove the workers very hard. He would shout and swear if you stood around and everyone feared his wrath. He was an expert and you could not drag out your work to make it easy for yourself. However, once Allam took over with no knowledge of ship repair, the men were able to relax to an easy pace and the company’s profits dropped. Workers would tell me “it’s like working at Butlins now”


Peter Marshall
01784 456474

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