Bank Line Story......... - Ships Nostalgia
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Bank Line Story.........

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  #1  
Old 29th December 2013, 23:41
Alistair Macnab's Avatar
Alistair Macnab Alistair Macnab is offline  
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Bank Line Story.........

The penultimate chapter - Chapter 13 - all you wanted to know why and when all the cockamany decisions were made at head office and by whom! Who in heaven's name designed the ships? Designated the builders? Engines? Found the cargoes?

It's all in Chapter 13 in the Directory site.

Seriously, though, as the Bank Line story draws to its end in this shortened version, many of your questions are answered and a better understanding of what it was all about is now revealed. Were Bank Line a tramp outfit or a liner operation?

As customary, corrections and comments will be appreciated. Recognition is always due to Fred Henderson of SN for his excellent illustrations and formatting.

Read......

Alistair

Last edited by Alistair Macnab; 29th December 2013 at 23:44..
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  #2  
Old 30th December 2013, 12:34
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Alan Rawlinson Alan Rawlinson is offline
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the bank line story

Congratulations Alistair on a very succinct account, with great pics. Particularly liked the action shot of Andrew Weir helping with the yachting...

The whole matrix which went to make up the successful Bank Line was an amazing complex, and I believe, unique machine.

A couple of observations which may or may not be valid, but based on a lifetime in shipping at all levels........

The heavy reliance on ex seafarers that you mention has its downside as well. After a spell in the offshore industry, I came to realise that we are a notoriously conservative breed, and progressive management is enhanced and enabled by an injection of talent from other knowledgeable fields. As mentioned in other threads, there was a reluctance to embrace advances, and the obvious example was the very slow adoption of modern deck layout with winches raised up out of the way and steel hatch covers.

More importantly, I suspect after the old man died, there was a chronic shortage of commercial flair and creativity, sorely needed as the container disease began to spread. This proved to be fatal.

Finally, would like to second your final paragraph, beautifully expressed and so true. Some of us are still coming to terms with how lucky we were!
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Old 30th December 2013, 13:58
rabaul rabaul is offline  
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Alistair

Thank you - a fine ending to a magnificent piece of work.

Seasons greetings to you and yours from a rather grey and wet Aberdeen.
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Old 30th December 2013, 18:56
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Alistair Macnab Alistair Macnab is offline  
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The Bank Line Story......

Rabaul......

Many thanks for your kind words. Throughout the effort, I have tried to be even-handed and non-committal in my observations leaving conclusions to the reader. I have enjoyed this project and now have the outline of the book-length product which will undoubtedly be the final word on the topic!

Many SN members and friends have materially assisted me in kindly sharing their own experiences and recollections which have given me substantially more material to work from.

I am determined to work every week-day during 2014 on the book and to not be so lazy as I have been since retiring from UHD in May 2013! (New Year Resolution #1)

Kindest regards to you and yours and lang may yer lum reek this Ne'erday!

Alistair.
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Old 30th December 2013, 19:21
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Alistair Macnab Alistair Macnab is offline  
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The Bank Line Story.....

Alan,

As customary, you have shown yourself to be most supportive of my writing efforts. Thank you!

I absolutely agree with your observation that seafarers, as a class, are far too conservative. I got myself into trouble at the last Bank Line Reunion by observing that the quality of ship management substantially improved when senior staff started arriving in the company from other well-known Lines. Old hands seemed to take offense but my point was (and is) that we had become a little too insular and complacent and new blood was a most welcome fillip.

Same applied to head office management except that several of the new blood 'experts' had little sensitivity to the company's traditions and took advantage of some inherent weakness in and adherence to the status quo.

But it soon became apparent as time went on that the drifting came from the very top where a policy of laisez faire leading to closure with some honour could not be overcome. A family company is a family company in every respect. When the boss says 'enough' then there's nothing to be done to question this either from the old hands or the whiz kids - both equally unimportant in the greater scheme of things.

There were many good people with talent and vision whose concepts never got the chance of expression. But remember the times - everyone was bailing out. It was a strange time.

Kindest regards,

Alistair.
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  #6  
Old 31st December 2013, 00:07
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jimthehat jimthehat is offline  
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Alistair,
it has been a very good read throughout,cannot wait for the book,yes Weirs was a family company and I think that it was after I left in mid 66 that things changed.
After i left bank line I joined a small ferry company and that was a family affair,the chairman,Col. Bustard made it his job to know the names of all officers when he came to visit,we were still a family outfit when Townsend took over,but we lost that when we were bought out by P& O.

jim
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Old 31st December 2013, 05:14
Johnnietwocoats Johnnietwocoats is offline  
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Alistair
In your final chapter I was expecting to hear about some of the lesser superintendents...
I have a book about Bank Line showing Captain Lidstone and Albert Scales as Supers...
I was a first trip Apprentice with Captain Lidstone in what has been told to me was his first trip as Master..
A couple of years later he was a Super in Calcutta...
Had he been given the nod when he was Chief Officer..?
I sailed as Senior Apprentice with Albert Scales when he was Acting Third Mate and a few years later he was in the London Office.
Do you have any specific knowledge of these two gentlemen?
If you prefer to correspond by Email I can do that.
Thank you for all your work in the past, and I for one, have appreciated everything you have posted.
Have a great 2014..
Sincerely
Johnny
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