Displaying the first of 1 old photos of Shotley. View all Shotley photos
Historic maps of Shotley and the local area, hand-drawn by Ordnance Survey and Samuel Lewis. View all Shotley maps
Shotley area books
Displaying 1 of 14 books about Shotley and the local area. View all books for this area
Memories of Shotley
Until the mid '70s Shotley Gate was the home of HMS Ganges, a Royal Navy training establishment. As 15 year old boys under training in 1964 we were allowed to visit the Post Office (see photograph in this collection) to draw money out of our Post Office savings books - usually to buy food of some sort as Ganges food was so bad!! The Bristol Arms was out of bounds to us boys but I did finally get a drink there about 30 years later.
My ancestors owned this public house in the late 18th century. Prior to this they were tenants of the Duke of Bristol and the head of the household was the ferryman. He was mentioned in a letter to the Duke from a disgruntled customer claimed that his attitude was unbecoming!
We have visited the area many times during my search for my ancestors.
The Gates to 'Hell'
I remember Shotley Gate 1954/55. I wish I could erase it from my memory. 12 months of sheer Hell at the infamous Ganges. I enjoyed my Naval Service and I did well, but Ganges almost defeated me. I danced a jig when they demolished the place!
Buying A New Drum For The Whitethorn Morris Band in Chelmondiston
In 2002 I had already been the band leader for the Whitethorn Band for more than twenty years and ithe musicians decided we needed a new drum. By chance we discovered Barry Askew in Chelmondiston who used his woodworking skills to hand make perfect drums suitable for morris musicians.
We commisioned a new drum and one fine Autumn day in 2002 four of our band drove for a day's outing to Suffolk where we met Barry Askew and tried his drums.
Having seen his workshop and completed our purchase we then had a splendid meal and dirnks in a river side pub at nearby Pin Mill. It was a lovely outing in a beautiful part of the country and our drum continues to give the Whitethorn Band excellent service.
Thank you Barry Askew and thank you Chelmondiston for lovely memories!
Recesses of The Mind Awakened
I was part of the Ship's Company that formed the admin of HMS Ganges. In the same office were two Petty Officer Writers, John Kerr and Ted Burroughs. The latter had connections with the Red Lion and was a lovely man. John was drafted to Hong Kong in 1959 and I also left in Nov '59. Had smashing memories of the district especially the Butt and Oyster at Pin MIll, the Boot Inn at Freston and, of course, the Bristol Arms in Shotley Gate. Often wondered what happened to John and Ted in the intervening years.
New wartime recruit, the shock of the first ten days at Ganges Annexe. I don't know how I survived. The sadistic attitudes of main establishment P.O. & L/S. are not yet erased from my memory On Sunday afternoons those of us already familiar with river sailing were invited to join whaler crews for 'an afternoon on the river'. A couple of Subs. in charge. For a few hours civilised life returned. We sailed upriver to the 'Butt and Oyster' for a light meal and a beer and a few hours of peace. Absolute bliss! Many times I have thought of taking a sentimental journey back to that little haven but no, I've always refrained. What if it had changed? It remains a perfect memory and too precious to risk being destroyed.
The Best Time of my Childhood
From 1954 until 1958 The Royal Harwich Yacht Club at Woolverston was where our Thames Sailing Barge was moored, and I spent my holidays from boarding school sailing, swimming, climbing trees or running free in the parkland which surrounded the Club, and cycling over to see my friends. I would nearly always be out all day, returning to the barge when summoned by its bell for lunch, wolfing the food down, and then hurrying off to whatever adventure awaited me. My best friend and I would frequently walk to Pin Mill or climb the Freston Tower, or just spend time on the hard, maybe swinging our way down the pier or just watching the yachts laying on water at the end of the pier. On race days and regattas I would either crew in friends dingys (I often crewed a 505) or yachts or later my own 12 foot, 'National'.