Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fenders And Hot Spots

A lot can happen in 100 years. The above illustrated Memorandum sheet was issued by Usher Brothers, a firm of ship's fender makers who were based in Liverpool at the beginning of the twentieth century. One of the brothers - and, I assume, one of the figures seated on the massive rope fender in the picture - is Isobel's grandfather, Charles Frederick Usher. Ropeworking was an established trade within the Usher family and there were several ropeworks belonging to Charles Frederick's father and his uncles listed in nineteenth century trade directories.
Trying to date the Memo is tricky, although the inclusion of a telephone number (383 Old Swan) should be a clue. Thus I need to look into the history of the telephone exchanges of Merseyside which should fill out many a cold and gloomy winters' day. Attempting to try and visit the yard shown in the photograph would be a bit of a dead end as Google Earth suggests that the site has been extensively redeveloped and now forms part of Wavertree Technology Park. However, it might be fun to see what has happened to the yard during the last 100 years, so an expedition to Liverpool is called for. One thing I did discover is that Dryden Lane is now listed as being a Wifi hotspot. So when I get to the area where the giant fenders were once made, perhaps I can post an update to the blog. I suspect Charles Frederick and his brothers would have been impressed by that.

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