What became of the crew department?

Waighty
29th April 2010, 13:55
The third floor at Bury Street as I recall was the place where behind wood and frosted glass panels the "crew department" held sway. This gave way to the "marine personnel dept" in the late 1970s.

I always found them very pleasant and obliging - Robin(?) Ludlow, John Steppan and Geoff Solomon were the ones I dealt with most. As 3rd Mate they were polite and business like, as 2nd Mate they were the same plus a bit more friendly and intimate, as Chief Mate they were very chatty and on a couple of occasions even managed a visit to a pub at lunch time where I met other Andrew Weir staff who worked in the unseen bowels of the city. All in all a vey obliging bunch even if they did weigh you down with large envelopes full of mail and packages of "stuff" from the Deck and Engr Supers depts for you to carry to whatever ship you were heading for.

What became of them all I wonder? Anyone know?

James_C
29th April 2010, 14:50
Waighty,
Weirs disbanded their crewing department some years ago (early 90s I think) and it's been subcontracted to Bibbys since - the men stay the same, it's just that Bibby Line now look after pay/joining/leaving/courses etc. I think that with the continued demise (size wise) of the Bank/UBC fleet it was felt to be more cost effective to have a larger crewing concern look after personnel rather than have a smaller department.
Of the 3 you mention Geoff Solomon is still with Weirs, now in the HQ at Royal Mint Court and working as the resident IT/all things computer Sahib. I'm afraid I don't know about the other two.
Wasn't Geoff a Chief Steward before he went into the office?

Alan Rawlinson
29th April 2010, 16:40
The third floor at Bury Street as I recall was the place where behind wood and frosted glass panels the "crew department" held sway. This gave way to the "marine personnel dept" in the late 1970s.

I always found them very pleasant and obliging - Robin(?) Ludlow, John Steppan and Geoff Solomon were the ones I dealt with most. As 3rd Mate they were polite and business like, as 2nd Mate they were the same plus a bit more friendly and intimate, as Chief Mate they were very chatty and on a couple of occasions even managed a visit to a pub at lunch time where I met other Andrew Weir staff who worked in the unseen bowels of the city. All in all a vey obliging bunch even if they did weigh you down with large envelopes full of mail and packages of "stuff" from the Deck and Engr Supers depts for you to carry to whatever ship you were heading for.

What became of them all I wonder? Anyone know?

My memories of visits to Bury St in the 1950's are nothing, if not surreal!

Not knowing anything better, i would trail into London on the tube, pad up to the carpeted reception area with frosted glass, push the bell, and a Mr Facey? ( was it) would appear and in a pleasant way, and announce that ' we have you down for the xbank ' Captain so and so, and that was it!! Off you go - trail back to north London where I lived at the time. A phone call would have sufficed. ( When I look back, with the benefit of hindsight, it seems amazing that in the scenario mentioned above, 2 years was commited to sailing with some complete no no, with no questions asked.)

Much later on, I would hobnob with the directors and top brass of the Bankline at functions and on formal occasions, bu it it was a million miles from the real action on the ships.

Fast forward - As mentioned elsewhere in these threads I visited the remnants of Bankline in the 1990's in the Tower/ Mint offices, but apart from the ship models, still on display, the emphasis was on financial trading!

To try and put it all in perspective, it was approx 100 years since young Andrew Weir with his drive and vision started the amazing adventure which became the Bankline. I, for one, would like to salute him. We all shared at least a part of the last 50 years of this story and at the sharp end. It was a life changing experience for many of us.

Charlie Stitt
29th April 2010, 18:36
Bank Line crew Dept, did'nt know they had one. During the twelve years I was with Weirs, I was summoned to Bury Street on one occasion only, that was to sign a statement ref a flotilla of barges being in collision with the Cederbank on the River Mass .Regards appointment to ships, that was done by letter with a travel warrent enclosed, followed by a telegram which always ended,, ''kit readiness, join, acknowledge''. I joined the Company in May 1955 without putting a foot into the office, or meeting any Supers or crew dept, all done by letter. The Shipping Fed's medical must have convinced them that I was quite normal with two arms, two legs etc. Happy Days. (Thumb)

John Campbell
29th April 2010, 19:41
I remember joining the Teakbank in 1959 and standing in that very office with the hatch . We had to assemble there about a dozen of us officers (except the Master, Mate and Chief Eng - they were already on the ship) being sent to join the ship at Freetown. We were then taken by bus to an hotel in Camberly then we flew out in a chartered plane to Freetown stopping for a night at Abijan. It was a great trip with a few sore heads- I was in charge being the senior officer 2nd Mate and given a huge bundle of mail and docs for the Master.
Our brief hour in that office was memorable for one incident. As we were gathering there was much discussion about the ship and its next port etc. It transpired that through the hatch we were told that Teakbank was next bound for "the Gulf" whereupon the Sparks a poor wee soul whom we had not noticed suddenly sprang to life. He shouted "The Gulf - the Gulf if she is going there I am off - I was stuck up there for six months on a tanker and got dysentery and nearly died." He calmed down when we convinced him that it was the Gulf of Mexico for where we were bound.
At Abijan we overnighted in a luxury hotel and checking out in the morning we had a mini riot as the management tried to prevent us leaving until they found the culprit who had inadvertently used the bidet as a toilet in his room. We escaped as the flight crew insisted we leave immediately as they had a tight schedule to keep.
What a laugh that was!

rcraig
29th April 2010, 19:52
Bank Line crew Dept, did'nt know they had one. During the twelve years I was with Weirs, I was summoned to Bury Street on one occasion only, that was to sign a statement ref a flotilla of barges being in collision with the Cederbank on the River Mass .Regards appointment to ships, that was done by letter with a travel warrent enclosed, followed by a telegram which always ended,, ''kit readiness, join, acknowledge''. I joined the Company in May 1955 without putting a foot into the office, or meeting any Supers or crew dept, all done by letter. The Shipping Fed's medical must have convinced them that I was quite normal with two arms, two legs etc. Happy Days. (Thumb)

I was checked out in Glasgow on interview there. Am I the last plaintive survivor of the Glasgow Hope Street connection?

iain48
30th April 2010, 11:44
I was checked out in Glasgow on interview there. Am I the last plaintive survivor of the Glasgow Hope Street connection?

I got my appointment as 1st Lecky through Glasgow office back in 1973. I was taken on almost immediately without much in the way of any interview. They just looked at my Discharge Book ( South African) and said OK. Sent me to Federation on the Broomielaw who couldn't see why I was being signed on as 1st Lecky as I was new to British ships. I had been 2nd then 1st Lecky with Safmarine. However got sorted out and passed medical OK, back to Hope St. and told I was on standby pay from then. Waited about 4 weeks and was informed by telegram to travel to London office to join Elmbank in Philadelphia. Can't remember much about either office.

jimthehat
30th April 2010, 12:35
my school sorted out whit company i would join,about a month before leaving the head said i had been provisionally accepted by bank line and all they would need was a photo,this was duly sent off to bury street,they must have liked the look and build of me cas the next thing was instructions to join the maplebank in Surreu commercial docks.Only ever in Bury street twice after that ,and that was when i was flying out to join ships.

jim

johnb42
30th April 2010, 13:07
Waighty,
I think it was 'Brian' Ludlow. I remember him interviewing me when I joined the Company as 2nd Mate. Straight forward interview "Trips five to fifteen months, food, you'll be alright if you like curry and rice etc". Met Brian a few times and he always impressed me as being a no frills man for the job that he was in.

Joe C
30th April 2010, 14:52
The nearest I ever got to Bury Street

Alan Rawlinson
30th April 2010, 16:40
The nearest I ever got to Bury Street

Hi Joe,

I remember it well!

3 years after leaving the Bankline, I got feed up with a bit of a tangled shore life, at that time, and applied to re-join in 1964. Lo and behold, no call or anything - just the familiar telegram with the same words, apparently set in concrete. - to join the Beaverbank in Liverpool with kit readiness to join etc etc .. On this occasion as Chief Officer. I couldn't face those blasted deeptanks again, however, and chickened out.

There must have been hundreds or even thousands of these standard worded telegrams sent out by the crew department to officers to join ships over the years, without any variation in the words. Perhaps it was a robot in the office?

Charlie Stitt
30th April 2010, 16:57
Joe C, thank you for posting your telegram from Weirs, its been a long time since I saw one. WEIRCO FEN LONDON+ brought back some memories. Cheers.

Johnnietwocoats
30th April 2010, 18:34
Love the telegram...I noticed you were to report on the 22nd December 55.

I bet the chap you relieved was happy.

I relieved a second Mate when I was with Texaco on the 24th December...He was over the Moon.. I had my wife with me for the Coast. He left me beer and a bottle. Tom Stokoe was the Master...What a great Captain.

And yes. The guy I relieved did make it home for Christmas Day..

JTC

John Lowans
2nd May 2010, 04:43
I remember joining the Teakbank in 1959 and standing in that very office with the hatch . We had to assemble there about a dozen of us officers (except the Master, Mate and Chief Eng - they were already on the ship) being sent to join the ship at Freetown. We were then taken by bus to an hotel in Camberly then we flew out in a chartered plane to Freetown stopping for a night at Abijan. It was a great trip with a few sore heads- I was in charge being the senior officer 2nd Mate and given a huge bundle of mail and docs for the Master.
Our brief hour in that office was memorable for one incident. As we were gathering there was much discussion about the ship and its next port etc. It transpired that through the hatch we were told that Teakbank was next bound for "the Gulf" whereupon the Sparks a poor wee soul whom we had not noticed suddenly sprang to life. He shouted "The Gulf - the Gulf if she is going there I am off - I was stuck up there for six months on a tanker and got dysentery and nearly died." He calmed down when we convinced him that it was the Gulf of Mexico for where we were bound.
At Abijan we overnighted in a luxury hotel and checking out in the morning we had a mini riot as the management tried to prevent us leaving until they found the culprit who had inadvertently used the bidet as a toilet in his room. We escaped as the flight crew insisted we leave immediately as they had a tight schedule to keep.
What a laugh that was!

Hi John

I too joined the Teakbank in 1959 and I think I remember being in that office with you as a first trip apprentice. I may be getting a few "senior moments" now but I seem to recall that we actually joined the ship in Bremerhaven and travelled there by train and the Hook of Holland ferry.

Regards.

John

Ben Masey
2nd May 2010, 07:39
Waighty,
I think it was 'Brian' Ludlow. I remember him interviewing me when I joined the Company as 2nd Mate. Straight forward interview "Trips five to fifteen months, food, you'll be alright if you like curry and rice etc". Met Brian a few times and he always impressed me as being a no frills man for the job that he was in.

It was Russel Ludlow in the crew department.
Regards,
Ben Masey

John Campbell
2nd May 2010, 22:01
Hi John

I too joined the Teakbank in 1959 and I think I remember being in that office with you as a first trip apprentice. I may be getting a few "senior moments" now but I seem to recall that we actually joined the ship in Bremerhaven and traveled there by train and the Hook of Holland ferry.

Regards.

John

Hi John, you are quite right - I had a senior moment and the ship in question was the "Fleetbank" and it was in July 58 when we flew out to Freetown.

After that trip I joined the Teakbank through that same office with you and the others and joined the ship at Bremerhaven as you say on 25.6.59. I cannot remember you - although I remember the trip well as it was my last Bank line ship and old man was Beavis -my best friend was 3/O Malcolm Macaulay McLeod from Melbost, Isle of Lewis. The Chief Engineer was Anderson from Montrose .

We had a good trip with a long spell in BA I remember.

I trust that I did not give you Apps a hard time.

Best regards and thanks for correcting my post

JC

John Lowans
2nd May 2010, 23:24
Hi John, you are quite right - I had a senior moment and the ship in question was the "Fleetbank" and it was in July 58 when we flew out to Freetown.

After that trip I joined the Teakbank through that same office with you and the others and joined the ship at Bremerhaven as you say on 25.6.59. I cannot remember you - although I remember the trip well as it was my last Bank line ship and old man was Beavis -my best friend was 3/O Malcolm Macaulay McLeod from Melbost, Isle of Lewis. The Chief Engineer was Anderson from Montrose .

We had a good trip with a long spell in BA I remember.

I trust that I did not give you Apps a hard time.

Best regards and thanks for correcting my post

JC

Hi John

That was certainly the voyage I was on and I can vaguely remember the people you mention. I never came across anyone from that trip again so you were probably not the only one to have left the Bank Line at that time. I cannot recall that you gave us apprentices a hard time but then Captain Beavis certainly didn't need any help in that regard.

As a point of interest, many years after that voyage I was master of the Teakbank when she was sold and I managed to acquirethe bridge bell. It is sitting on my desktop right now.

Regards.

John

Ian Harrod
3rd May 2010, 02:04
Waighty,
I think it was 'Brian' Ludlow. I remember him interviewing me when I joined the Company as 2nd Mate. Straight forward interview "Trips five to fifteen months, food, you'll be alright if you like curry and rice etc". Met Brian a few times and he always impressed me as being a no frills man for the job that he was in.

I always thought his first name was "Liar"!

Johnnietwocoats
3rd May 2010, 04:17
Hi John

That was certainly the voyage I was on and I can vaguely remember the people you mention. I never came across anyone from that trip again so you were probably not the only one to have left the Bank Line at that time. I cannot recall that you gave us apprentices a hard time but then Captain Beavis certainly didn't need any help in that regard.

As a point of interest, many years after that voyage I was master of the Teakbank when she was sold and I managed to acquirethe bridge bell. It is sitting on my desktop right now.

Regards.

John

Hi John..You are one lucky man. To have been a First Tripper on the "Teakbank" and end up being Master of her must have been quite a thrill....

I remember the London Office on my First Trip with Captain Lidstone and my Senior Apprentice Dave Ramsey....

Willie McLennan from Larne was the 3rd Mate and Syd Mallory was the Mate. I have the full Crew List which I posted before...

No matter what we all remember our first Trip...

John...AKA Johnnietwocoats....(Pint)

ianian
3rd May 2010, 09:43
I do not know if it is true but I heard a whisper that he had been dismissed for irregulatiies in the expenses in the crew department is that true or just tittle tattle

ianian

pete
13th June 2010, 11:57
I first walked into 21, Bury Street (EC3A 5AU) in March 1965 asking if they had a job. Brian walked out into the "Holding Area" and said "Have you got a ticket?".
"Yes" sez I, "Ahh" sez Brian, "Come this way". I presented my 2nd Mates Ticket with the ink so fresh it was still dripping off the bottom, and that was the beginning of 15 wonderful Years Work and enjoyment. Not bad as my father sailed with them for 20 Years and my Great grandfather was on Weirs Sailing Fleet. Miss it (Cloud) .............pete

Andy Lavies
18th June 2010, 19:18
The only one I remember in the early 60's was a Mr Humphreys = nobody else has mentioned him.
Andy

Waighty
30th July 2010, 13:33
It was Russel Ludlow in the crew department.
Regards,
Ben Masey

Many thanks Ben - it was indeed Rus. He certainly had a lot of time for we seafaring folk, particularly in the later days as Weird began the "run down"

Alan Rawlinson
30th July 2010, 16:17
The only one I remember in the early 60's was a Mr Humphreys = nobody else has mentioned him.
Andy

I remember Humphreys - he was my contact in the 50's pantomime of trogging up to Bury St on the tube, into the thick carpets behind the glass screen, to be be told which ship and Master was to be the next ' assignment'. This was before the lottery was invented!

When I think how docile I was ( naive?) in those days, it's truly unbelievable. Why didn't I ask a million questions?

Waighty
31st July 2010, 11:31
Hi John

I too joined the Teakbank in 1959 and I think I remember being in that office with you as a first trip apprentice. I may be getting a few "senior moments" now but I seem to recall that we actually joined the ship in Bremerhaven and travelled there by train and the Hook of Holland ferry.

Regards.

John

John,

I sailed with you on Willowbank circa 1973 when I was 2nd Mate and you were Master. Angus Brodie was Mate. Pretty good trip if memory serves. US Gulf to Aus then islands and home. Couple of memorable days being hove-to in the Atlantic after being pooped whilst on our way home! Aft deck in a bit of a mess I seem to recall.

Mike Waight

semibogus
10th December 2012, 03:27
So where is Malcolm Macaulay Macleod now?

Ian

Geoff-S
12th March 2016, 15:37
The third floor at Bury Street as I recall was the place where behind wood and frosted glass panels the "crew department" held sway. This gave way to the "marine personnel dept" in the late 1970s.

I always found them very pleasant and obliging - Robin(?) Ludlow, John Steppan and Geoff Solomon were the ones I dealt with most. As 3rd Mate they were polite and business like, as 2nd Mate they were the same plus a bit more friendly and intimate, as Chief Mate they were very chatty and on a couple of occasions even managed a visit to a pub at lunch time where I met other Andrew Weir staff who worked in the unseen bowels of the city. All in all a vey obliging bunch even if they did weigh you down with large envelopes full of mail and packages of "stuff" from the Deck and Engr Supers depts for you to carry to whatever ship you were heading for.

What became of them all I wonder? Anyone know?

Having only recently become a member of this site I would like to tell you what happened to the Crew Department.

I myself left Andrew Weir in 1984 to move to Blue Star Ship Management following the reduction in size of the Bank Line fleet.

When Andrew Weir Shipping Limited was formed in approx 1990 to bring together Andrew Weir (Bank Line) and United Baltic Corporation, Russ Ludlow was made redundant and David Gundry (UBC) Marine Personnel Manager took over management of the Personnel function for Bank Line.

John Stepan I understand left shortly after that at which time Richard Ireland took over the day to day function of manning the Bank Line vessels.

John had moved to Hudson Steamship in Brighton before returning to London with Zim Line for a short period before returning home to Sussex where I understand he was working locally as a taxi driver.

Shortly after John left AWSL Richard decided to leave to take a job more local to his home and is I believe still at the Shotley marina in Essex as the Lock Master.

At that time I was approached by David Gundry to return and take over from Richard which I did until the flag out and transfer of manning to Bibby in the Isle of Man.

After that happened I remained with the Company becoming the IT Manager looking after the ships networks and subsequently the shore side network etc

I finally retired last August

Geoff Solomon

Alan Rawlinson
13th March 2016, 08:34
Hallo Geoff

Interesting to see your timings etc. I was one of the old hands in Bank Line in the 50's along with a few of us on here, and like Waighty I remember the thick carpets, frosted glass, and polished wood of Bury Street. Even today, it still seems different from loads of shipping offices I became familiar with later.

In the 1990's my son worked in the Bank Line offices in the Mint buildings near the tower of London, and I visited him there a few times during lunchtime. The only familiar thing to me was the great set of ship models scattered around the desks and on the wall. Did you work there, I wonder? Do you have any idea what happened to the models, i.e. did they go to auction, or maybe to the Ellerman offices later.

Cheers/Alan

p.s enjoy the retirement!

Geoff-S
13th March 2016, 09:34
Hello Alan,

Indeed I was in the offices in Royal Mint Court and I remember your son Guy who was working on the development of the ISM with Andy Latter.

In answer to your question the majority of the ships models were indeed sold, whether it was at auction I dont know.

All that remains in the office from memory are the models of Olivebank and the RMS St Helena and possibly the Cedarbank.

Regards

Geoff

IBlenkinsopp
13th March 2016, 17:12
Hi Guys,
Anyone know whatever happened to Sandy Powell, used to run the Cadet Training and then moved on to operations? One of the good guys, unlike his successors.

Eddie B.

Alistair Macnab
13th March 2016, 22:07
There was a time when I had done something valuable for the Company and I was called into His Lordship's office to receive a thank-you in the form of a brown envelope to which was attached a receipt for me to sign.
Opening the envelope, I started to count the contents when Morton Weir placed his hand over my busy fingers and said "No need to count it; it's all there; you just have to sign the receipt!"
I was quite red-faced but I heard afterwards that Inverforth relating the story to some of the Directors admitted that he was impressed by one of his Captains who counted the money, even although it was delivered by the Boss!
The Company was still a good place to work in those days with a large fleet of new ships, good promotional prospects, and job satisfaction.
I'm talking about the late 60s. Then came the comparatively swift decline......

Alan Rawlinson
14th March 2016, 07:52
Hello Alan,

Indeed I was in the offices in Royal Mint Court and I remember your son Guy who was working on the development of the ISM with Andy Latter.

In answer to your question the majority of the ships models were indeed sold, whether it was at auction I dont know.

All that remains in the office from memory are the models of Olivebank and the RMS St Helena and possibly the Cedarbank.

Regards

Geoff

Hi Geoff,

There was a nice model of the Southbank or Eastbank behind his desk.

Will mention this exchange to Guy when he and family are with us at Easter. Back then he used to share a car to work with an engineering Super ( I believe it was) who lived in the same village of Hatfield Peveral, near Chelmsford. Today, Guy is a director of Aida Cruise Lines of Hamburg, part of the Carnival group. He has a doddle of a job which takes him all over the world, presently in Barbados!

Geoff-S
14th March 2016, 09:26
Hi Alan

Pretty sure it would have been Eck McCloud the super who lived in Hatfield Peverell, last I heard Eck had gone back to sea as Chief on a Super Yacht.

Geoff

James_C
14th March 2016, 13:46
Hi Alan

Pretty sure it would have been Eck McCloud the super who lived in Hatfield Peverell, last I heard Eck had gone back to sea as Chief on a Super Yacht.

Geoff

Geoff,
Is that the same Alec MacLeod from Easter Ross? Think I'd heard he was Chief on the "A".

Geoff-S
14th March 2016, 15:37
Hi Jim

Yes that's the one - I just couldn't remember the name of the Yacht, I am not sure if he is still there or not

Geoff

James_C
14th March 2016, 17:10
Hi Jim

Yes that's the one - I just couldn't remember the name of the Yacht, I am not sure if he is still there or not

Geoff


Geoff,
I shall ask my uncle (retired and still around), as he taught Alec at Tain Royal High School and still keeps in sporadic touch with a lot of his former students.

Geoff-S
14th March 2016, 17:13
Jim

Just exchanged emails with the office (Mark Causon) but they haven't had contact with him and so don't know if he is still there

Geoff

bones140
14th March 2016, 22:03
James Eck is still the chief engineer on 'A'

Alan Rawlinson
15th March 2016, 08:27
There was a time when I had done something valuable for the Company and I was called into His Lordship's office to receive a thank-you in the form of a brown envelope to which was attached a receipt for me to sign.
Opening the envelope, I started to count the contents when Morton Weir placed his hand over my busy fingers and said "No need to count it; it's all there; you just have to sign the receipt!"
I was quite red-faced but I heard afterwards that Inverforth relating the story to some of the Directors admitted that he was impressed by one of his Captains who counted the money, even although it was delivered by the Boss!
The Company was still a good place to work in those days with a large fleet of new ships, good promotional prospects, and job satisfaction.
I'm talking about the late 60s. Then came the comparatively swift decline......

Great story, Alistair - thanks for sharing...

Long after my Bank Line days, I was contracting in the Gulf. (Persian one). where brown envelopes stuffed with cash were an essential ingredient of any successful transaction. Definitely no receipts requested or received!

Alan Rawlinson
15th March 2016, 08:30
Hi Jim

Yes that's the one - I just couldn't remember the name of the Yacht, I am not sure if he is still there or not

Geoff

Is this the one? ABank sounds better!

Geoff-S
15th March 2016, 11:54
Yes that's the one Alan

Waighty
15th March 2016, 16:24
Having only recently become a member of this site I would like to tell you what happened to the Crew Department.

I myself left Andrew Weir in 1984 to move to Blue Star Ship Management following the reduction in size of the Bank Line fleet.

When Andrew Weir Shipping Limited was formed in approx 1990 to bring together Andrew Weir (Bank Line) and United Baltic Corporation, Russ Ludlow was made redundant and David Gundry (UBC) Marine Personnel Manager took over management of the Personnel function for Bank Line.

John Stepan I understand left shortly after that at which time Richard Ireland took over the day to day function of manning the Bank Line vessels.

John had moved to Hudson Steamship in Brighton before returning to London with Zim Line for a short period before returning home to Sussex where I understand he was working locally as a taxi driver.

Shortly after John left AWSL Richard decided to leave to take a job more local to his home and is I believe still at the Shotley marina in Essex as the Lock Master.

At that time I was approached by David Gundry to return and take over from Richard which I did until the flag out and transfer of manning to Bibby in the Isle of Man.

After that happened I remained with the Company becoming the IT Manager looking after the ships networks and subsequently the shore side network etc

I finally retired last August

Geoff Solomon

Geoff, my apologies for not spotting your post earlier, in fact we even corresponded on the Bank Line Nostalgia site before I noticed this post. Thanks for offering the info on all the staff at marine personnel.

You mentioned David Gundry - I didn't know him personally but my wife did when he was at Whitco. My wife worked in the stores dept there having moved over from Texaco in the mid/early 70s I think (brain is a bit hazy). Shipping companies were quite a small world I think in those days.

All the best,

Mike