In 1927 A O Hill Ltd were responsible for dismantling Dover Promenade & Pier. The Pier was opened in 1893, offering proper promenade facilities and summer concerts. During WW1, the Navy took it over as a Landing Stage.
Kent Coalmines were also visited and machinery (underground as well as above ground) was dismantled. After the Second World War, Anti Aircraft Guns at Dover, Lydd, and Sheerness were dismantled.
The scrap produced was sent to N.E.Coast, Scotland, and Port Talbot in S Wales (for the large Steelworks). Some was also exported. In the early years the scrap was taken by train (steam!!) along the seafront to be shipped from the Western Docks. Over the years, the yard was forced to shrink as the Car Ferry business increased. However they diversified into ship repairs and they created a foundry producing brass boat fittings (Lurline Boat Fittings). Their public weighbridge was used by many, including Banana Boats from the West Indies. When forced to close in 1964, there were some 30 people employed. This business had successfully recycled scrap from ships and from all over Kent for over 60 years.
My Grandfather, Alfred Jackson Brigham, joined the business in 1920. Having left the Royal Navy, he then helped to break up their ships!!!. He rose to become Foreman before his early death in 1928. He was also Doverís representative for the Royal Navy Reserve Association. My father, Alfred Gordon Brigham, had to leave school at 15 to earn the family crust. He was taken on as office clerk, and rose very quickly to become Managing Director.
In 1950 there was a troop carrier being dismantled. A lot of hardwood found its way into our new house, and I donít think you would find a heavier attic floor!!!. In 1964 a Finnish ship arrived, and the crew had left many bottles of wine and also tins of condensed milk (who remembers condensed milk sandwiches!!). Scrap also provided us children with a large roundabout!! I, and my brothers in succession, would work in the office, mainly on the weighbridge, during our holidays (those bananas were a handy snack!!). Others I remember were Mr E.P.Hill (Director) and his son. Also Ron Partridge (in the office), Tommy Knight (diver), Tom Beer (scrap merchant of Barham), George Potter (hauliers).
Today of course this whole area is a giant Car Ferry Terminal, with no sign of its former life (there was also an adjacent factory - Parker Pens)
Author: Alan Jackson Brigham
Submitted on: 16/03/2006