Retired dock worker recalls when Immingham was just a quarter the size it is today
THIS year, Immingham Docks is celebrating its centenary. Here, reporter Dan Russell chats to a retired dock worker, whose family has lived in the area for five generations.
BRIAN Cave has spent his entire life in Immingham and has seen it grow from something a quarter of the size it is today.
His grandfather, John, moved to Immingham in 1906 to help with the construction of the docks.
Immingham developed into a thriving town, and the construction of the refineries nearby brought more work.
Mr Cave, 75, of Thornton Place, said: "When my grandparents moved here it was a desolate place but it has slowly built up.
"My grandfather was here when they started digging the dock out.
"All the equipment was brought to the area by train, which was pretty much the only thing here then.
"After that, he started coaling on the docks and when my dad got to the right age, he also went to work there.
"There were eight coal hoists on the dock and not a speck of dust in the village, unlike today.
"I was born in a house in Pelham Road on September 2, 1936, and have been in Immingham virtually all my life.
"It was brilliant living here when I was a kid; the whole place must have been a quarter of the size it is today.
"We knew everybody and we were out all day roaming the fields and swimming in the creek. It was great.
"I prefer it how it was back then because Immingham was self sufficient and there wasn't as much traffic.
"You didn't have to go into Grimsby to get food or do anything involving travel.
"I remember the Pelham Road Co-op had a big glass window in the front of it and I accidently smashed it, which was a big thing back then.
"I didn't do it on purpose but I was throwing stones at a cat in a tree nearby, and one rebounded off it and cracked the window.
"My dad said that of all the windows in Immingham, it had to be the biggest one I had smashed.
"I was about 12 at the time and PC Cherryman came to have a word.
"During the war, the Americans were using the docks and there were small Army camps all around the place and gun emplacements too.
"A German plane came down in Pelham Road and crashed somewhere close; that was a very exciting time for everyone.
"My first trip on Immingham Docks was just after the war in 1945. My dad took me on the crossbar of his bike to see a captured German U-boat submarine in the timber pond.
"When I first left school at 15, I started working on the docks.
"At the time, a lot of lads my age were just waiting to do National Service, including myself.
"I spent three years working in Timber and Woods pit prop yard, dragging timber to be cut. I was doing a man's job for a boy's pay.
"I was called up to the Forces when I was 18 and went in as a Private and did two years in Libya.
"I had a good job. I was a ration rep. The one day off I had, my replacement got injured after being stoned through the window of his vehicle – I was lucky.
"I came straight back to Immingham in 1957 and immediately noticed some changes.
"They had moved the tram from Corporation Road to Pywipe, the docks were getting busier and Fisons fertiliser factory was being built.
"I went to work for Calders, producing timbers for railway sleepers.
"In 1958 I met my wife, Rita, on a blind date and in 1959 we got engaged outside the Grimsby Telegraph office. In the same year, I went to work on the docks.
"A year later, we married and by this time they had started building a lot of houses, including the one I live in now, and have done ever since.
"In the 1960s, you could always get a job. It was then that they started to build the refineries. Lindsey was first, followed by ConocoPhillips.
"In the mid-1960s, the Immingham shopping mall was built and you could get everything you wanted there.
"More housing followed this and Margaret Street was extended to cope with the people coming to the area.
"At the time, I was working on the commercial docks for Sutcliffe and did so until 1969, when I moved to Trains Oil and Rex Line as a driver until I retired in 1990.
"Three generations of my family worked on the docks until I had two daughters, Tracy Rudd, 48, and Melissa Dobbs, 46. We also have two grandchildren, Katie and Georgia Rudd, who are twins and 18 now.
"It is strange to think that five generations of my family have been here and how much the area has changed."
If your family has been in Immingham for 100 years or more, we want to hear from you. E-mail email@example.com or call 01472 372236.