Postby MadMaxLab » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:05 pm

Built in 1979 By Sunderland SB Ltd - North Sands yard.

Renamed: 85 BADAGRY - 86 CORDIGLIERA. Foundered 31.21S/30.01E on 13.11.96 .

W - BADAGRY PALM   11-8-1979.jpg
Peter C
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Postby fitter » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:46 pm

This excellent photo could well be titled "Demise" The last cargo ship to be built at Thompsons; Greenwells Dry Dock and Corporation Quay deserted; Austins yard in the fore ground with only the base of the cantilever crane left; Thompsons building berth awaiting the final vessel, ITM Challenger crane barge; and not a tug, hopper, dredger or fishing boat in sight. A scene unimaginable only a few years previous. Go back today and it would be hard to imagine that there had been a shipyard there since 1846 and many others on the same stretch of riverbank.
The buildings forward of the ship were Dickenson's engine works, taken over by Doxfords before being incorporated into Thompsons. They would become platers and plumbing shops. Two RFA spare crankshafts were kept there and it was reputed to be haunted! :o The steel framework building with brick panels was the Blacksmiths shop at ground level with the painters shop above. The five windowed building behind the forward deckhouse was also a plumbers shop before becoming the Blacksmiths "Annexe" where ladders were made for Doxford, Laings and Thompsons ships. Between number 2 and three holds the many windowed building was the joiners shop but the upstairs became a large 'Amenity block' where men had their baits and lockers instead of finding places to get a few minutes respite when the weather was harsh, to have their bait at 9 o'clock. I remember my first winter in the yard finding a place on a staging plank to eat our baits, where we could warm our hands on the exposed bulbs of temporary lights. It seemed inhumane, but it was obviously normal and it wouldn't do to complain. The long grey building between the quayside luffing crane and the berth cantilever crane was the fitting shop, machine shop, engineering and general stores. Just behind them is the top of the gable end of the fabrication shed (black) and to its immediate left is the new 'fab shed.' In the distance, above the joiners shop and just on the left side of the luffing crane is the gable end of the original North Sands yard platers shed and main offices. The horizontal 'bar' to the right of the two multi storey blocks of flats is the travelling crane of the new stockyard on the site of the old canteen where shipyard men raced, like bats out of hell to be first in the que for dinners, you'd think it was a matter of life and death to be first in. There were sparrows in the roof girders and after eating, men often settled down to play cards and dominoes, oblivious to the haze of cigarette smoke. (That last sentence reads rather different without the comma following "eating." :lol: The canteen staff knew that most of us had large appetites and were adept at back answering shipyard men, but they were a good bunch who would have to work for every penny they got. Chips with almost everything and a bowl of rice pudding that would be enough for two men were normal fare, but in the winter a welcome respite from the workshops where we would sit on tool boxes and eat sandwiches if we weren't out for fish and chips where we could be verbally abused by the girls from the Ropery (British Ropes, in Roker Avenue). It was wise to learn to which of them and as to how best to reply and when to "say nowt." " Man woman," in her very mini skirt, was gorgeous from the back but when she turned around she was formidable and when you saw her face she had a 'don't you dare mess with me' look. The older, but clearly not wiser, men joked that "you didn't look at the mantle piece when you were poking the fire," but she was terrifying and not worth any risk. In Dundas Street, the joke was that the pies in the window were the cleanest for miles around, they got dusted everyday! One thing I never could understand was that most disgusting habit of shipyard men ...... eating tripe, albeit with salt and vinegar, from paper. Then just above the joiners shop in the photo is the place that survived the viking raids and outlived the shipyard, St. Peters church, the oldest ? or second oldest in England, (AD674 if I remember rightly). Still there today, 1,339 years old. What tales it could tell if buildings could talk. The memories here are a minute few of many more beside. How I would love to be back with some of the old hands that we all took so much for granted, outstanding craftsmen some of them, with decades of memories we youths were too disinterested to listen to, but now they have gone the treasures of their lifelong memories and experiences are gone with them. How sorry I am for not taking time to listen to them. And Man woman? She'll be over sixty now, I wonder what became of her. She's probably a canny lass and might have had reasons that would sadden us for her being so aggressive.
As for Badagry Palm it sunk of Durban, all hands lost, in the same area where another Thompson ship, (Iron Endeavour, yard no 724) also sank. Ironic maybe, that Thompsons last cargo ship and Doxfords last engine for a British ship should be spared the indignity of the breakers yard and its remains will remain for a few more years. Then, when all is that is left of the last remnants of the biggest bits of machinery, some kid from his bedroom may summon a miniature submersible web cam from his palm sized computer and in the murky, disturbed sea bed, may view a small oval brass plate that reads "Badagry Palm, J.L.Thompson, Sunderland 1979." Yes, I know it will probably read Sunderland Shipbuilders, and North Sands Yard only if we are lucky, but I will know and so will you! ;) Thanks for posting.
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Postby fitter » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:46 pm

Badagry Palm details:
Length OA 155m; Length BP 148m; Breadth Mld. 22.9m; Depth Mld (Upp. Dk.) 12.8 m ; Depth Mld (2nd Dk.) 9.3m; DWT 16250 tonnes @ 9.3mtrs; 4 Holds and tween decks 22750 cu. mtrs inc hatchways; Hydraulic steel hatch covers on UD. Hydraulic steel flush ulti foldong covers on second deck; 4 @ 35 tonne SWL Velle Crane derricks, 2 @ 26 tonne SWL Velle Crane derricks. 6mtr outreach over side. 580 TEU with 2nd deck covers closed. Water Ballast 4250 Tonnes; Fuel Oil 1050 Tonnes; Diesel Oil 125 Tonnes. Fresh Water 150 Tonnes. Doxford 760J4 Main engine., 12,000 BHP; Fuel Consumption 40 Tonnes per day. Three Ruston 6AP22 Diesel alternators, 520 KW (one article says 470KW). Speed 16.5 knots @ 90% MCR. Range 11000 miles. Crew 37.
Keel laid 30.10.1978. Launch Thursday 24th May 1979. Sponsor Mrs. D.S. Williams Wife of Mr. D.S. Williams Director of United Africa Corporation International. Completed October 1979
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Postby HSA31 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:52 am

Nearing completion.
BADAGRY PALM  1979.jpg
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Postby fitter » Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:53 pm

Another nice photo.
The left most white car in the car park might have been my Saab 96, I usually parked it about there.The white circle at the top, starboard side of the after deck house is the Manor Quay clock, you will be pleased to know. I've no doubt you will have been wondering what it was :roll: The bushes just forward of the focsle grew in a yard adjacent to the Blacksmiths shop. There was an excellent "tool fettler" in the Blacksmiths, Freddie, who used to hide bits of the very best steel all around the overgrown yard because if he kept it in his locker some "illegitimate" would know, break in and steal the steel for their own use. If you asked him to make, say a centre punch it would never be done immediately because he would have to wait till no one was watching and he would saunter around the yard to get a bit of steel. I still have two he made for me in 1976, one light, one heavy. Rough, often aggressive and abusive these were quietly outstanding craftsmen. I didn't realise it then, but it was a privilege to work with these men and sad that their skills were not recognised then and are scarcely heard of now.
Thanks for posting
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Postby Dennis Maccoy » Sat Jul 25, 2015 5:43 pm

A little earlier - 2 September 1979 - and showing rather more of the dereliction in the remains of Austin's yard.
Badagry Palm, 2 September 1979 _1.jpg
Regards, Dennis.
Dennis Maccoy
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Location: South Shields

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