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Duport steel memories

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roy munster View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 April 2013 at 7:38pm

Loading the machinery of the Duport Steel Works aboard the mv Project Orient to ship to Southern Africa


Ive heard various bits and pieces over the years. One chap with one leg told me recently after 30 years there he left with a £10 a week pension , which wasnt index linked. he also mentioned as did others, how it was dismantled piece by piece and reconstructed by some well known people in south africa
.
Im told it had state of the art furnaces and was a highly profitable company for many years, until the thatcher years, when the tories and inflation struck
 
Id be most grateful to hear any Duport memoriesWink
 
 
ROYMOND MUNTER MBE (FOR SERVICES TO THE COMBOVER)
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MikeM View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MikeM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 April 2013 at 7:59pm
Before Duport closed they had very modern electric arc furnaces installed and they were producing some of the best steel in Europe.

It was dismantled, sold off and shipped to South Africa and the company that it was used by had a certain Mr Dennis Thatcher either on the board or a major shareholder (allegedly), I'm not sure which.

I had a brother and an Uncle working there when it closed but my fondest memory was when I was a paperboy at about the age of 13 and used to sell the evening post there.

Health & Safety, Health & Schmafety lol. They used to let me just walk around the plant selling the paper and this was absolutely everywhere. It was nuts but I enjoyed it very much.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Keithd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 April 2013 at 8:00pm
My Father worked there in the soaking pits with Gyppo.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote lofty evans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 April 2013 at 11:22pm
I remember the stuff coming out of duport was so massive all traffic was halted to get the stuff through the streets of llanelli. Gutted when you could see the machinery leaving knowing full well nothing would be returning.

In 1972, Roy Bergiers scored that try and said "that was for you lofty"

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote Tim Opolis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2013 at 1:59pm
I worked there for 2 and half years before Maggie shut us down. Some real characters there, dangerous place but a huge amount of humour there. On the outside of the old mill so as passing trains could see, someone had painted some graffitti on the corrigated mill side, Pwy    sy    di    cachu yn y tegell? (Who has shit in the kettle?).
 
I was lucky enough to play for the works rugby team and when the past played the present and the past were short, I got to play for the past alongside the legend that is Phil Bennett! He played full back, his knee was heavily strapped and was quiet for most of the game, until towards the end when he picked up the ball in his own 25 and danced his way up a channel about 10 metres wide alongside the touchline, I lost count how many he beat before scoring, no one bothered even to support, I just remember standing there, transfixed with what I'd just seen.
 
Some horrible tales of people who had fallen into the soaking pits which was where they heated up the ingots before they were fed on a chariot into the mill. these pits were about 15 metres in diameter and had gas fire jets which created an inferno in the pit which had a domed cover for insulation, the pits were about 10 feet deep and I was told of this unfortunate soul who had fallen in and when someone braved the immense heat and passed him a broom to catch hold of, there was nothing left of him.
 
You would also get what was called a cobble, which was when the steel was being reduced through rollers and if they were out of alingment red hot 5 inch square billets of steel would shoot 20 or 30 feet into the air and curl like spagetti. There were tales of men being chased up the mill by these red hot billets, some not managing to get out of the way.
 
As a young apprentice I used to be allocated to a fitter and would go wherever he went, which meant sometimes climbing up to work on the gantry cranes which spaned the mill and which wizzed up and down the length of the mill driven by the headers who used to operate them. I'd have to walk on 3 foot shelf 30 feet up the side of the mill wall and when I asked the fitter why parts of the wall were painted with black and yellow stripes, he said it was because there was danger of crushing by the gantry cranes. I'd then have to jump accross onto the cranes, because the fitter had done so, I had to follow.
 
I was there when we marched on parliament to lobby MP's but there was no beating the torries and of course our Maggie and shut we did.
 
I have fond memories of Duport and the men that worked there, hard men, but with a terrific sense of camaraderie and humour. These were the guys that for years were the foundation of our Scarlet support and many Scarlet players themselves, it was a priviledge to have tasted a bit of that lifestlyle, I feel I was richer for the experience.


Edited by Tim Opolis - 15 April 2013 at 8:42pm
Tymor nesa Duw, plis tymor nesa.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote daveoda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2013 at 3:06pm
Originally posted by Keithd Keithd wrote:

My Father worked there in the soaking pits with Gyppo.


Thats where my father used to work;Paul Prenderville, former Hull KR rugby league player used to work there as well.
I remember my Dad and others had an accident in the pits and suffered burns.

He worked at the arc furnaces before they were shut down and I was on one of the buses that travelled to London to lobby Parliament.


Edited by daveoda - 15 April 2013 at 3:07pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wil Chips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2013 at 3:12pm
Originally posted by Tim Opolis Tim Opolis wrote:

I worked there for 2 and half years before Maggie shut us down. Some real characters there, dangerous place but a huge amount of humour there. On the outside of the old mill so as passing trains could see, someone had painted some graffitti on the corrigated mill side, Parc y Scarletsy di cachu yn y tegell? (Who has shit in the kettle?).
 

I was lucky enough to play for the works rugby team and when the past played the present and the past were short, I got to play for the past alongside the legend that is Phil Bennett! He played full back, his knee was heavily strapped and was quiet for most of the game, until towards the end when he picked up the ball in his own 25 and danced his way up a channel about 10 metres wide alongside the touchline, I lost count how many he beat before scoring, no one bothered even to support, I just remember standing there, transfixed with what I'd just seen.

 

Some horrible tales of people who had fallen into the soaking pits which was where they heated up the ingots before they were fed on a chariot into the mill. these pits were about 15 metres in diameter and had gas fire jets which created an inferno in the pit which had a domed cover for insulation, the pits were about 10 feet deep and I was told of this unfortunate soul who had fallen in and when someone braved the immense heat and passed him a broom to catch hold of, there was nothing left of him.

 

You would also get what was called a cobble, which was when the steel was being reduced through rollers and if they were out of alingment red hot 5 inch sguare billets of steel would shoot 20 or 30 feet into the air and curl like spagetti. There were tales of men being chased up the mill by these red hot billets, some not managing to get out of the way.

 

As a young apprentice I used to be allocated to a fitter and would go wherever he went, which meant sometimes climbing up to work on the gantry cranes which spaned the mill and which wizzed up and down the length of the mill driven by the headers who used to operate them. I'd have to walk on 3 foot shelf 30 feet up the side of the mill wall and when I asked the fitter why parts of the wall were painted with black and yellow stripes, he said it was because there was danger of crushing by the gantry cranes. I'd then have to jump accross onto the cranes, because the fitter had done so, I had to follow.

 

I was there when we marched on parliament to lobby MP's but there was no beating the torries and of course our Maggie and shut we did.

 

I have fond memories of Duport and the men that worked there, hard men, but with a terrific sense of camaraderie and humour. These were the guys that for years were the foundation of our Scarlet support and many Scarlet players themselves, it was a priviledge to have tasted a bit of that lifestlyle, I feel I was richer for the experience.



Diolch Tim, I could listen for hours to people who worked in heavy industry.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lofty evans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2013 at 3:19pm
Originally posted by Tim Opolis Tim Opolis wrote:

I worked there for 2 and half years before Maggie shut us down. Some real characters there, dangerous place but a huge amount of humour there. On the outside of the old mill so as passing trains could see, someone had painted some graffitti on the corrigated mill side, Parc y Scarletsy di cachu yn y tegell? (Who has shit in the kettle?).
 

I was lucky enough to play for the works rugby team and when the past played the present and the past were short, I got to play for the past alongside the legend that is Phil Bennett! He played full back, his knee was heavily strapped and was quiet for most of the game, until towards the end when he picked up the ball in his own 25 and danced his way up a channel about 10 metres wide alongside the touchline, I lost count how many he beat before scoring, no one bothered even to support, I just remember standing there, transfixed with what I'd just seen.

 

Some horrible tales of people who had fallen into the soaking pits which was where they heated up the ingots before they were fed on a chariot into the mill. these pits were about 15 metres in diameter and had gas fire jets which created an inferno in the pit which had a domed cover for insulation, the pits were about 10 feet deep and I was told of this unfortunate soul who had fallen in and when someone braved the immense heat and passed him a broom to catch hold of, there was nothing left of him.

 

You would also get what was called a cobble, which was when the steel was being reduced through rollers and if they were out of alingment red hot 5 inch sguare billets of steel would shoot 20 or 30 feet into the air and curl like spagetti. There were tales of men being chased up the mill by these red hot billets, some not managing to get out of the way.

 

As a young apprentice I used to be allocated to a fitter and would go wherever he went, which meant sometimes climbing up to work on the gantry cranes which spaned the mill and which wizzed up and down the length of the mill driven by the headers who used to operate them. I'd have to walk on 3 foot shelf 30 feet up the side of the mill wall and when I asked the fitter why parts of the wall were painted with black and yellow stripes, he said it was because there was danger of crushing by the gantry cranes. I'd then have to jump accross onto the cranes, because the fitter had done so, I had to follow.

 

I was there when we marched on parliament to lobby MP's but there was no beating the torries and of course our Maggie and shut we did.

 

I have fond memories of Duport and the men that worked there, hard men, but with a terrific sense of camaraderie and humour. These were the guys that for years were the foundation of our Scarlet support and many Scarlet players themselves, it was a priviledge to have tasted a bit of that lifestlyle, I feel I was richer for the experience.


Thanks for sharing Tim.
In 1972, Roy Bergiers scored that try and said "that was for you lofty"

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eastern outpost Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2013 at 8:22pm
Tim,
That's unputdownable text & such a gripping part of life and SF.
Any offence taken on board is only a literate/cy consequence. Every attempt at humour is just that. No personal insult intended. Standards lowered for trolls.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote shanghai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2013 at 8:33pm
Originally posted by MikeM MikeM wrote:

Before Duport closed they had very modern electric arc furnaces installed and they were producing some of the best steel in Europe.

It was dismantled, sold off and shipped to South Africa and the company that it was used by had a certain Mr Dennis Thatcher either on the board or a major shareholder (allegedly), I'm not sure which.

I had a brother and an Uncle working there when it closed but my fondest memory was when I was a paperboy at about the age of 13 and used to sell the evening post there.

Health & Safety, Health & Schmafety lol. They used to let me just walk around the plant selling the paper and this was absolutely everywhere. It was nuts but I enjoyed it very much.
I also solt the post in duport in the seventies earned more money then than i do now.WinkWinkWinkWink.GOOD  OLD DAYS.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A Evans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 April 2013 at 12:43pm
My father worked there as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eddie Edwards Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 April 2013 at 8:50am
Hi my Father worked in Duport for over 20 years on the cranes - sadly he died in 1989 aged just 42 - does anyone know if the pensions would be payable to my mother as she herself is retired now and is as she always has struggled financially as she was deemed "TOO YOUNG " to be a widow , so received no widow's pension - thanks in advance
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