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Demolition around Coventry

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NormK
bulkington
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1 of 42  Tue 24th Jan 2012 11:56am  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:675

Hello, I am new to the Forum and I think I should mention that I worked for a company called G W Hilditch and we were responsible for demolishing lots of buildings mentioned on the Forum. I was the machine driver and starting around 1960 I will list a few. Priory Baths, Pool Meadow Goodwins Flour Mill, and the temporary shops next door YMCA, Quadrant The Queens pub, Hertford Street Houses in Hilltop Corona factory Trafalgar Foundry, Grove Street Lea Francis (I remember this one, I ended up in hospital after falling through the roof) Lots of property in Hillfields and Gosford Street I worked there for 30 years so these are just a few that come to mind. A lot of it was to make room for the ring road. The biggest job was the GEC in Spon End. Looking back I am saddened what we did but I suppose things had to change.
Milly rules

Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
Midland Red
Cherwell
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2 of 42  Tue 24th Jan 2012 11:58am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4918

So . . . you own up to it then ! Seriously, welcome to the forum Wave I'm sure you have some interesting tales to tell And . . . we won't hold it against you personally - honest Wink
Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
dutchman
Spon End
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3 of 42  Tue 24th Jan 2012 4:17pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:2651

Hello Norm Wave You must have uncovered some interesting stuff while demolishing old buildings?
Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
NormK
bulkington
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4 of 42  Thu 26th Jan 2012 3:03pm  
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Yes dutchman, I have lots of memories of my demo days, like finding a incendiary bomb down a drain when we pulled down the YMCA in the Quadrant. We were throwing it to each other but somebody called the police and some army guy took it away. On the same job all the brick hardcore went to the Bell Green Community Centre and I remember the foundation stone was too big as they only wanted brick size hardcore. I only had a few loads left on site so I decided to load it on the truck with the other stuff. When it got to Bell Green they broke it up with hammers and found it was hollow and it contained coins and other stuff, so I missed out on that one, but if we had any more foundation stones on other jobs we would break them open to see if there was anything inside and we never did find anymore with goodies inside. I used to collect chimney pots from different jobs and I had quite a few but when I moved to Bulkington I gave some to relatives but still have a few. I had two from Freddie Bird's and they are still in my garden. There was no fancy high reach hydraulics in those days, we just had a 3/4"msteel rope coupled to the back of the machine and just pulled the buildings down.
Milly rules

Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
K
Somewhere
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5 of 42  Thu 26th Jan 2012 3:56pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:521

Around the time my father wanted to build a large wooden garage, around 1960-ish, Hilditch's were demolishing a wooden loading ramp in, I think, the freight part of Coventry railway station (I think it led down from Warwick Road). The timber supports, which were around a foot square, were cut up into 4x4 by Hilditch, and my father bought a lot of it. It was really excellent timber, and Hilditch sold a lot of it.
Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
dutchman
Spon End
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6 of 42  Thu 26th Jan 2012 4:06pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:2651

It was more likely to be the ramp from the passenger entrance in Warwick Road to the Birmingham platform which I believe was only ever open on special occasions? There's certainly plenty of timber there!
Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
NormK
bulkington
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7 of 42  Thu 26th Jan 2012 4:52pm  
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On 26th Jan 2012 3:56pm, K said: Around the time my father wanted to build a large wooden garage, around 1960-ish, Hilditch's were demolishing a wooden loading ramp in, I think, the freight part of Coventry railway station (I think it led down from Warwick Road). The timber supports, which were around a foot square, were cut up into 4x4 by Hilditch, and my father bought a lot of it. It was really excellent timber, and Hilditch sold a lot of it.
That's correct. In those days all the timber went back to the yard in Albert Street to be de-nailed, sawn into lengths and put through a thicknesser if required and it used to sell like hot cakes because it was cheaper than buying new and it was well seasoned.
Milly rules

Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
K
Somewhere
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8 of 42  Fri 27th Jan 2012 1:36pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:521

Thanks both - another good memory there! Dutchman - I remember something about it at the time, to the effect that the ramp was originally intended go give access for horse-drawn vehicles; and there was a specific reason for it, but I can't remember what. I know it was only opened for special events for many years,presumably because the original purpose was superseded. (They'd have had a job getting a Scammell Scarab and trailer down there!!!! Big grin )
Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
The spirit of Coventry
Spain
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9 of 42  Sun 12th Feb 2012 5:15pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:70

Hello NormK. It was interesting to read your post, especially as I remember my father speaking about G W Hilditch and probably about you at some point. When I told him that there was a post on the site about Hilditch and a man named NormK he said he remembers you!! His name is Peter Bates, who ran North Western Metals with his brother Dave Bates for 30 years. I thought maybe I could get him to leave a post so you and him can have a chat about old times!?!! Andy Bates Thumbs up
Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
NormK
bulkington
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10 of 42  Sun 12th Feb 2012 5:30pm  
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Hi Andy. Yes I remember Dave and Pete. I knew the firm when their dad ran the company in Lythalls Lane and later in Rowleys Green. Is Pete Storer still alive? I know Ray Goodhead passed on. I still see George from time to time. Give them my regards, and nice to hear from you.
Milly rules

Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
The spirit of Coventry
Spain
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11 of 42  Sun 12th Feb 2012 10:38pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:70

Hi NormK. I've got Pete here so I'm going to type what he says: Hello NormK. I have had no contact with Pete Storer for more then 20 years, so I don't know his family's situation. Last I knew he lived in Bulkington so not far from you? I'm pleased to hear George is still around. My dad and him were good friends - if you speak to him give him my regards. What's the situation with the rest of your family? The last I remember you were doing a lot of work for J & H B Jackson's/Dunn Brothers. Are you still a family business? Lythails Lane seems like an eternity ago. I remember my dad saying that "there will always be scrap", what he didn't realise was the structure of the scrap industry would change and cut out the "middle man" merchants like ourselves, so we could not compete with companies like EMR. However I have some very happy memories of the "characters" I met whilst I was North Western Metals. I hope your health keeps well and that you find life good. I now live in Spain with most of my family and although it can be hard work here the quality of life is better and the cost of living is less. Keep well, regards, Peter Bates
Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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12 of 42  Mon 13th Feb 2012 2:35am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:2324

Not about demolition but I think this site is wonderful for bringing old mates together. Keep it up lads it is well worth it Cheers
Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
NormK
bulkington
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Thread starter
13 of 42  Sun 4th Mar 2012 12:31pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:675

This is a view of the old Coventry Garage, Lower Holyhead Road. After we removed the cladding this signage was exposed.
Milly rules

Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
PhiliPamInCoventry
Holbrooks
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14 of 42  Sun 4th Mar 2012 12:36pm  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:3720

Hi. NormK Wave I bought a new Alpine from here 1977. I think that this site was once a hospital, before the war.
Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry
dutchman
Spon End
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15 of 42  Sun 4th Mar 2012 12:47pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:2651

No Philip, the garage was there before the war. You're probably thinking of Bonds Hospital which was immediately behind it in Hill Street and actually an old people's home despite the name.
Town Planning and Development - Demolition around Coventry

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