Julie Cook – Hidden Histories of the Humber Bridge

Julie Cook – Hidden Histories of the Humber Bridge


(calm piano music) – I’m Julie Cook. My dad Tony Black, Anthony Black, but
everybody called him Tony, and also my grandfather Alfred Acaster Had worked on the barges a lot of years My grandad had been on the
barges with his dad since he was thirteen, fourteen. My dad went to work on the
barges when my brother was born because he was at sea and
grandad didn’t like the thought of him going off
to sea when my mom had a young baby. My first memories was going on as a child on the barge on regular occasions with with all our families. Nieces and nephews, my
grandad used to take all his grand children down there. On one occasion, my youngest
nephew would have only been about two or three, so that
he didn’t fall into the river, they tied rope around his
waist and then tied him to the funnel actually on the barge, so that he didn’t fall over. We would go up and down the canal and have a picnic type lunch on
there, and then back again. Really regarding the
Humber Bridge, I remember my dad being really
excited about being picked, one of his barges to be picked to take the road deck pontoons in. I can remember as a child when
we knew it was going to be on the TV and we were all really excited. and my mum got us all
to sit around and watch and we were trying to work
out which one was my dad, which one was grandad, and
which one was my uncle. And I think it was just because
of the way it was filmed, I don’t know whether we ever did. We’d be like, that’s my dad, that’s my, oh no that could be
him, that could be him. So yeah, it was just really exciting. I remember my dad even saying, “make sure they’ve got the
telly on, make sure you’ve got the TV on” ringing my mom up obviously not on mobile phones then. We had a house phone. “Love I’m going to be on the TV make sure the kids are watching”,
and then us just saying “Oh, we couldn’t see which
one was you dad, but we looked at the telly” and things like that. So, and then obviously, we
would speak to our cousins who’ve done the same, trying
to look for their dad. And we weren’t all in the
same houses but we all lived quite close together. It was a big family memory that we’ve got and we still chat about now. Unfortunately my dad and my grandad are no longer here. It was just lovely to be part of it and I still feel very proud now. I’m fortunate that I live near the bridge. But, I tell my kids about their grandad being part of it, and my grand-kids now, I say; ‘oh your grandad’, that unfortunately they’ve never met, ‘he helped build that bridge’. So, yeah, it has become part
of our family, in a lot of ways I think. Another nice memory that
I’ve got is of my grandad. Alf, Alf Acaster, who had obviously helped build the bridge and then in his later years
when he was sixty/seventy unfortunately he got
diagnosed with lung cancer. But all he ever wanted to do
was to go across the bridge. And even though he was
quite ill, my uncle managed to take him across, and he
just made the one crossing. And within a few weeks
later, sadly, he did die. But it was lovely to think that he got across the bridge because he felt such a part of the building of it and it’s the one thing that he wanted to do, and we managed to fulfil, and I think he was just so thankful that he’d got across there before, it was too late for him to get across. So it was one of his last memories. And one of the last
memories that I have of him was him telling me the
story or, quite excited, or, you know, Clary got me to cross the bridge he managed to drive us over there. He was amazed at it, obviously, amazed at what it was
like just traveling over. Because we didn’t have
roads or bridges like that did we, very often to cross over. Not at the time it was
built, it was the only one. So it was just nice to
think his last wishes were fulfilled.

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