More Brooke Marine memories flood in

MEMORIES of Brooke Marine continue to flood in as past employees remember their time working at Lowestoft's world-renowned former shipyard.Over the past two months Turning Back the Clock has featured memories and photographs from former workers Billy Hansford and Geoffrey Durrant, and this week we take a first look at a remarkable collection of photographs belonging to Peter Hemp, of Walmer Road, Lowestoft.

MEMORIES of Brooke Marine continue to flood in as past employees remember their time working at Lowestoft's world-renowned former shipyard.

Over the past two months Turning Back the Clock has featured memories and photographs from former workers Billy Hansford and Geoffrey Durrant, and this week we take a first look at a remarkable collection of photographs belonging to Peter Hemp, of Walmer Road, Lowestoft.

Mr Hemp, 86, worked in the maintenance shop at Brooke Marine for around 30 years. Throughout his time, he regularly had a camera in his hand, whether he was high up a crane or with his feet safely on the ground.

Snapping away, he documented some of the yard's most notable events from 1954 to 1985 and has grouped them in a scrapbook full of memories.


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The collection covers many numerous events as the shipyard flourished under the guidance of Harry L Dowsett. Mr Dowsett bought the company in 1940 and by 1954 had expanded the operation by opening a new yard on the south side of Lake Lothing.

The development of this yard is documented by Mr Hemp's photos, which then go on to show a number of the vessels that were made for the many international customers that the shipyard dealt with.

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Pictured here are the Bolton Abbey and the SYC 299 Parahaki. The Bolton Abbey is shown in the wet dock, ready for trials in May 1958. SYC 299 Parahaki was the first of a pair of boats made by Brooke. It was first launched in January 28, 1963 and finally completed on August 1, 1963.

Between 1956 and 1987 more than 300 vessels were made by the company as it launched a wide variety of Lowestoft-built boats into international waters.

Such was the company's influence that HRH Prince Philip paid a visit to the dock in 1957. Mr Hemp was there that day and with his trusty camera to hand was able to capture the Prince on site.

Over the next few weeks we will continue to look at some of Mr Hemp's unique photos, as we see his view from the top of the crane, retirement parties and other launches of key Brooke-constructed vessels.

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