THE FLATLEY DRYER

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 01 Jan 2018, 04:26

As Jack and I lay there last night being forced to be awake by the fireworks I remembered that there used to be a large fireworks factory in the fields on the West side of the road just North of Sanquar. I'll bet it isn't there now.....
Then there was the ICI gelignite factory at Penrhyndeudraeth, Cook's Explosives. A very interesting place. I used to deliver powdered Barytes there regularly from the Annan Barytes Company at Glasgow. I'll bet that has finished as well!
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 01 Jan 2018, 11:12

Barytes...barium sulphate used to make barium chloride and added to fireworks to give the green colour. LINK

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 02 Jan 2018, 04:49

ICI used it as the bulking agent for the nitro they used in the gelignite.
One thing that struck me was that when the explosives were transported by rail they were not allowed to include detonators in the same shipment. They went over to using their own road transport and dets and jelly were in the same van. When the IRA bombing was at its height they used to have unmarked police escorts...
During my wanderings in SW Scotland I found the main ICI plant at Ardeer..... And I've just remembered the enormous government ammunition dump on the side of the A74 just north of Carlisle at Moss Band, reputed to be the largest in Europe.Funny what you see from the cab of a wagon.....
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Bodger » 02 Jan 2018, 09:22

I recall during the war on the roads on the hills in the Penistone area there were stacks of bombs on the roadside, 40/50 per stack every 10 yards. there was a concrete bunker house near the Maythorne this was occupied 24 /7 by American soldiers based in Penistone, an aside to that the Americans created a swimming poll by excavating and concreting a hole in the the bank of the nearby reservoir, after the war we were given our swimming lessons in this pool, no heating , even in Summer it was bloody cold

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 02 Jan 2018, 11:44

There was a big oil storage depot behind Falmouth and near the end of the war a German bomber scored a hit on it. A river of fire began to flow downhill towards a village (I think it was Swanpool) but an American soldier drove his bulldozer into it and shifted earth to direct it successfully away from the village. A brave man.

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 03 Jan 2018, 04:07

We tend to forget how well organised we were during the war. The government had 'Buffer Depots' dispersed around the country and the signs puzzled me for years. Why did the railways need so many buffers? Later I found out that they were places where strategic stocks of everything from raw materials to food and clothes were maintained in case of emergency. They survived long after the war but like the Civil Defence network were finally run down on the grounds of economy. The exact opposite of the modern 'Just In Time' system which is so vulnerable to shock of any sort.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 04 Jan 2018, 05:09

When I started school at 4 years old I was soon walking the mile to school and crossing the main road on my own. This meant my mother could promote me to Sherpa and send me to the shop a quarter of a mile away as it didn't involve crossing the main road. I can still remember how heavy five pounds of potatoes was at that age! I wonder what the reaction to this would be today?
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 05 Jan 2018, 05:00

Walking to school was shrapnel collecting time! This was mainly fall-out from our own Ack Ack guns but occasionally there were other goodies. I once staggered into school with a full clip of what I know now to be 5 live 20mm cannon shells. That grabbed their attention! Bomb disposal men on site in no time and Stanley got a good talking to!
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 06 Jan 2018, 06:58

A few years later when we had moved to the house on Napier Road up on Heaton Moor we had a problem with a leak in one of the lead-lined valley gutters on the roof. When father eventually found it is was a piece of shrapnel embedded in the lead. Originally it had been a seal but as the shrapnel corroded it started letting water in. I have an idea there was a government scheme to compensate for war damage like this but don't know whether we ever took advantage of it.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 06 Jan 2018, 10:20

A friend in the Republic of Ireland tells me she is starting to research the family history of one of her cousins. Of particular interest is the grandfather, Timothy John Byran [Byran, not Bryan], who was born in Passage West (Cork). He joined the RAF in 1936 and was based in somewhere called Oaklands, presumably in the British Isles. His plane was shot down over Sedan, France, in 1939 and he was held prisoner for the rest of the war. He was involved in a few escape attempts but was always recaptured. What has brought it to light is the cousin being given letters which Timothy had written to his father while he was a prisoner.

She's promised to let me know as she finds out more but it has already triggered my interest because he joined the RAF well before the war began. That in itself is unusual for a southern Irishman to enlist in the RAF. Then there is the long period of incarceration until the end of WW2. Being shot down over Sedan in 1939 is another notable aspect. It means he was one of those brave RAF airmen who had to fly out-dated aeroplanes against the fast, modern German ones. At the start of war in September 1939 the RAF sent squadrons of these inadequate aircraft to bases in France. They were in the Reims area and would have been flying over Sedan to reach the German border. People called this period the `Phoney War' but there was nothing phoney about it for the RAF. I found a history web site that covered this topic and I've quoted an appropriate paragraph below.

"It was odd to be in the first party to leave England, travelling in an aircraft on the nose of which was chalked the prophetic words 'Où sommes nous?' It was odd to arrive and to find few of the promised arrangements for one's reception in existence. It was odd to be—if only for a brief time—without blankets, shelter or sufficient food. It was odd to be sent off on daylight reconnaissance of enemy territory in a Battle, and to be shot down almost before crossing the border; it was almost equally odd to be sent off in a Blenheim I, and to run out of petrol short of home. It was still more odd to carry out night training over Germany because of the French restrictions on flying after dark. It was odd, when the soldiers below were not yet at grips, to be fighting hard with the enemy in a corner of sky near Luxembourg; and odd to be a hero of the fighting, like young 'Cobber' Kain of New Zealand and No. 73 Squadron, and find oneself the hapless subject of a clash between Service and Press on the merits of publicity for individuals. On a humbler plane, it was odd, when all starting devices from batteries to hot bricks and blow lamps had failed in forty degrees of frost, to hear the flight sergeant's optimistic injunction to 'whip out them plugs'—with frozen fingers and one plug-spanner per six aircraft. But it was also a great deal more than odd: how much more, the Royal Air Force, whose adjectival vocabulary is strictly limited, would have found it difficult to express in polite society." LINK

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 07 Jan 2018, 04:17

Fascinating insight Tiz and even more so for me, I am in the middle of Norman Davies' account of the history of Eire and of course he covers the Irish volunteers..... A largely untold story.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 08 Jan 2018, 05:08

During our roaming about in the area we often found ourselves in Didsbury. One thing I noted during the war was a lot of men in blue uniforms with white shirts walking about in the area. I found out that they were inmates at a large convalescent home for wounded service men. Later after the war my main memory of Didsbury is watching cricket at the ground there including a benefit match for George Duckworth, Lancashire Cricket Club's famous wicket keeper. It was he that originated 'Howsat!' and spectators were paying money into the fund to hear him shout it. In the same match sums were offered for any ball hit out of the ground which was next to the main road. I think it was Leary Constantine that broke a window in a house on the opposite side of the road!
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 09 Jan 2018, 04:09

One memory of Didsbury is cycling down there to watch the disposal of the trams after they had been withdrawn, there were hundreds of them. There was a large outside storage area of tracks where the trams were stored. In those simpler days, they simply set fire to the wooden bodied trams soaked with years of oil and varnish and there was the biggest fire I have ever seen! All that was left was the metal and they moved in then and scrapped the lot. It could never happen today!
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 10 Jan 2018, 06:08

Apart from chip shops and the occasional street vendor there was no such thing as fast food during the war and just after and rationing didn't help. We always had a standby, we could call in at any baker's and get a small loaf or if we were lucky, a currant teacake. This and the occasional 'penny apple' was our street food.
Funnily enough I can't remember being hungry. Perhaps we got used to it and didn't expect anything between meals. A lot of street 'grazing' these days is driven by habit and not need. No wonder we were healthy and fit!
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 10 Jan 2018, 12:32

The tram fire makes me wonder about the recent multi-storey car park fire. It's very fortunate that people were not returning to their cars at the time. What an inferno, petrol tanks exploding, windows bursting, tyres burning. There must be bosses of insurance companies throwing themselves out of their office windows at the thought of all the claims.

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tripps » 10 Jan 2018, 12:59

I've got a bit of a 'thing' about the way large fires are portrayed on TV soaps. I refer to Emmerdale and Coronaton Street. They have been seen as opportunities for dramatic scenes, involving entering the burning premises, and making daring rescues - whilst a couple gas powered burners blast away in a corner.

It's not like that is it - I'm convinced it was a factor in this case Derby fire
Born to be mild. . .

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 11 Jan 2018, 04:26

Anyone who has seen the consequences of even a small fire in a confined space knows you are both right. Peter and I once had to clean out a canal boat that had been gutted by fire and refurbish it. I learned a lot about the destruction fire can cause. As for the Phillpot case, the Derby fire.... beyond comprehension....
Add a 1,000kg bomb and it gives you some idea of what we kids saw during the war.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 12 Jan 2018, 04:51

Just listened to a news item on World Service about a lady barber in Lima who singes her customer's hair after cutting it. This was standard practice 70 years ago at Joe Hibbert's barber shop in Stockport. The theory was that it stopped hairs 'bleeding' and made growth stronger.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 13 Jan 2018, 05:23

When I was a growing up before and during WW2 in Stockport, the gas and electricity were municipal undertakings.

Image

The electricity works on a bad smoke day!

I have no memory of any power or gas shortages during the war even though I think they may have happened. I can't remember a shortage of torch batteries either, I think efforts must have been made to maintain supply because of the blackout. Looking back, the way the everyday needs of the population were served was wonderful considering the problems of supply. Some imported foods were modified, one that sticks in my mind is that Canadian apples were replaced by dried apple rings. They were lovely and made wonderful apple pies! Concentrated orange juice was readily available and together with Cod Liver Oil was provided free for children at special clinics. Mother took full advantage of this and that probably explains why I still take liquid Cod Liver Oil today when many can't abide the taste!
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 14 Jan 2018, 04:25

Mentioning gas yesterday triggered thoughts about attitudes to air quality in the 1930s and 40s. I've mentioned before that the fact that Stockport is in a valley which encourages a temperature inversion that trapped the plentiful coal smoke and we found after the war that it was this that had protected us from the Luftwaffe, they couldn't see us! All we knew then was that the smuts showed up on the washing on the lines outside to the chagrin of the women.
In addition, there was never any mention of carbon monoxide. Every house had a gas cooker and many had gas fires which vented straight into the room. We must have been exposed to a constant low level of the gas. I wonder if the fact that almost every room had a flue in it for the fireplace saved us? Draughts were avoided but there is little doubt that there was more ventilation then with the doors and windows closed than in a modern house. Whatever, we survived in conditions that would be illegal today.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Tizer » 14 Jan 2018, 10:21

Even when we think we've draught-proofed a house there is still a lot of ventilation. This is shown by people who try to build a house to Passive House standard which should be completely sealed and relies on controlled mechanical ventilation. To get the PH certificate the house is tested and it's surprisingly difficult to get rid of all air ingress. It has to be achieved otherwise the mechanical ventilation doesn't work properly (it also incorporates a system for heat recovery).

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 15 Jan 2018, 04:25

I once visited a house where the owner had gone to extraordinary lengths to draught proof it including automatic seals in things like boiler flues and vents. It was warm but stunk like a ferret hutch!
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Whyperion » 15 Jan 2018, 18:12

Tizer wrote:
10 Jan 2018, 12:32
The tram fire makes me wonder about the recent multi-storey car park fire. It's very fortunate that people were not returning to their cars at the time. What an inferno, petrol tanks exploding, windows bursting, tyres burning. There must be bosses of insurance companies throwing themselves out of their office windows at the thought of all the claims.
Job lot of new cars at a discount finding some tp only and disputes on market value should adjust the payout.

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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 17 Jan 2018, 04:57

Central heating is accepted as the norm now. I can remember when we pushed the boat out in the 1970s and installed a Wilson Wallflame oil boiler and five radiators. What a transformation! I doubt if any 'home improvement' could have that effect today.
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Re: THE FLATLEY DRYER

Post by Stanley » 18 Jan 2018, 04:47

I think we have all seen dried liquorice root and some of us enjoyed it. Below Hope Memorial School on Huntsman's Brow in Stockport there was a greengrocer's called Mathers on the side of the River Mersey next to the bridge where we used to get a penny apple or some liquorice root. For a while during the war they sold fresh root. It was white and tender and was lovely, never seen it since. They also sold Locust pods, what was left over after the hard red seeds had been extracted to make a very affective size used in taping in the mills. They were very sweet and we chewed them as a substitute for sweets. They were not rationed.
Mathers had a side line, they hired out ponies and two wheeled carts to the rag and bone men and street traders.

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The last one I saw was in 1976 in Salford.
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