A Health and Safety Nightmare!

By Andy Gilbert

Here's a great photo from well-known maritime photographer John Hendy, who has kindly allowed us to use many of his photos here on Our Newhaven.

Photo:TS Londres, seen from TS Lisieux

TS Londres, seen from TS Lisieux

John Hendy

The date is 6th July 1962 and the passenger steamer Londres is in the night berth where the car ferries now moor. Londres was launched before WWII and was taken over by the German Kriegsmarine, serving as the minelayer Lothringen for the duration - it's said that she achieved an astonishing speed of 27 knots during this time. After the war, she was returned to the French and rebuilt as the passenger steamer seen here. She entered service on the Newhaven-Dieppe route in 1947, but with the sale of the Worthing in 1955, she was transferred to the British flag. She kept her French name, but I know that some of her crew referred to her as the London. The impending arrival of the car ferry service made her surplus to requirements and she was withdrawn at the end of the 1963 season.

Our ships were always kept smart back in those days and here we see workers going over the side to chip and paint. But oh my word what would the Health and Safety people say these days! They're standing on wooden planks, suspended by ropes, with no apparent safety gear. I'm not suggesting that today's H&S rules are wrong, just pointing out how it was back then!

Painting is the order of the day in this photo. I have the high resolution version and zooming in reveals an open paint tin hanging from the forward end of the plank nearest the camera. It contains British Railways Buff paint, so I assume that they've been touching up the ship's name. Here's a close up from the original photo.

Photo:Painters at work!

Painters at work!

John Hendy

The group behind them are touching up the black upper belting strip and further back another group is working on the white superstructure. Interestingly, between these two groups there's a man sitting on a plank taking a 'fag break'!

The brick building just to the right of Londres housed the harbour offices. This was left in situ when the car ferry ramp was built in 1963/64, but the early 1970s saw the construction of the passenger terminal that is still there today. The harbour offices moved to a purpose built building in Beach Road, still there and now used by a private company, after being empty for some years.

This page was added by Andy Gilbert on 14/05/2018.

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