Saturday, 21 February 2009

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Rosemary Smith, rally driver for the Rootes car company

During the 1960s she won ladies awards in all the top international rallies, including the London-Sydney, the RAC and the Monte Carlo. In 1965 she was the outright winner of the Tulip Rally and was also chosen as the Texaco Sportstar of the Year.

Rosemary was a revelation at the time,work wise she was a dress designer,in a Hillman Imp she was a winner,check out the pictures!

A few weeks after the 1965 Tulip rally, which she won outright, and a few weeks before the Scottish Rally, Ms. Smith was at Silverstone invited to take a round of honour, accompanied by 'Tiny' Lewis.

Two Didi Mini Transats

It was six years back we built the two Didi mini transats,one with a fixed keel,Warlock,the other has a cant or swing keel,thats Running With Scissors,a South African first,as this was the first boat ever launched in SA with a canting keel.

Tysons of 5 Dryden Street,Liverpool

Tysons (contractors) ltd,
Established 1820
Dryden Street

Contact details:
Telegrams Tybilt.Liverpool 5
Phone numbers,10 lines (new number) 051-207 3441
Builing plant yard and; workshops,sawmill,kilns and; timber sheds,
Paul Street and  Oriel Street,
Liverpool 3

An ariel Google Earth picture of Dryden Street,Liverpool,Tysons had the main building on the far side of the street,basicaly from half way down and right to the bottom on the right.

Note the empty (dark shade) area to the left, we used that as a car park for Tysons staff. Was that once Oswald Street that appears on this old map?  it should open and become larger.

Oswald Street was not there when I was, period January 1963 to October 1968.
There is mention of  an Abercromby Works ( oil cake) the factory was accessed via Oswald Street and possibly from both sides via Dryren and Wilbraham Streets?

While Oswald Street had been closed? the Abercromby Works ( empty buildings) were still there. They were multi story and with wooden floors with slides to each floor for the transfer of what ever product they made there? This was a regular lunch time play ground for the Tysons  apprentices!

What must now be a rare (copy) picture of the two doors into number 5 Dryden Street,taken in 2002 when I was in Liverpool,the door I am next to went upstairs the the office complex,the other door went past the time keepers office on the right hand side and into the main factory floor.The entire street was demolished a few years after this picture was taken.

Left click to see full size and be able to read this obituary of a man who had much to do with my formal years of training as an apprentice joiner,Mr Peter Tyson.

An extract,from The Liverpool Daily Post.

Tysons were my start in the joinery trade,at the time jobs were scarce (nothing has changed?)when I left the Deyes Lane Secondary Modern high school,I had only an interest in woodwork,forestry and cooking,for some reason a mate and I,his name was George,took up cooking at school in a free period,we went in the cookery class with all the girls,it was great fun,we made the best cakes and pies and kept the girls on their toes,George went on to become a chef,I declined due to the hours of work.

My first job on leaving school at fifteen,was picking potatoes,thats hard work and in my own case,made a lot harder having to do it in a farmers field in november with frost on the ground,my days were hardly made better when I found out the co worker I had,a student on holiday,was paid more than I because he was a student,we picked the same amount,so why the difference?I had a bicycle,he had a mini 850cc panel van.

Leaving school was one of the happiest days of my life,the teachers were in the large,rubbish,only a Mr Halligan took any interest in me,he was the woodwork teacher and I always finished in the top group in that class,the head master a certain Mr Hall took us for maths,he was a little runt of a man and took delight in caneing me each monday when he found I was unable to do my maths home work,you can see why I was pleased to leave school? I went back one day with my parents for some reason,Mr Halls last words to my parents and in front of the boy he had failed dismally to teach maths to was 'Your son is fit only to sweep the streets' you can imagine how this went across at the time,I suppose picking potatoes was a step in the right direction?

I think it will have been Mr Halligan who promted me to write to various local building companies,I remember I wrote to five companies,one of which replied that I could have an interview,that company was Tysons in Dryden street,not far from Liverpools city center,I could nip down to The Cavern Club for a spot of music at lunch time,so it was quite close.

My interview must have gone well enough as in due course I received an offer of employment to start work the following january as an Apprentice Joiner ( posh carpenter)on January 7th 1963 I arrived to find my new job was in the companies office,I made tea for the directors and filed orders with delivery notes,which had to tally with an invoice,no invoice was passed if the order and delivery note was missing,it was to be a very long time before I understood the meaning of this process?

One of the directors was Mr Peter Tyson,he had so much milk in his tea,it was white and I never understood why he bothered with the tea part at all,this side of the job as a joiner went on for some six months,I was relly just an office boy,cheap labour of course,I was busy buying my required set of tools duing this period,my parents were very helpfull in this,we were all really quite hard up most of the time back then.

Eventually I was sent downstairs to the main joinery shop,great! well not so great to start with as my first job was either on the back of a machine taking wood from it as it was either sawn,planed or sanded,when no machine work was happening I was sent INSIDE some of the larger machines to clean them out,the other task was as a maker of tea (again) and my job description was now Can Lad,this unique name came about due to all the men having their tea made in a tin can with a lid that was also a cup,each can had a wire handle,I could carry as many as ten cans with my two arms and hands and had to run all over the shop floor as everyone wanted their tea at the same time,one crafty little jewish man gave me a sixpence a week to ensure he was first!

Another six months passed and a year after starting work I now went on a bench and was asked to make some product or other,it may have just been glueing up doors and hammering home tennon wedges,a slow progression to finally being allowed to do my own thing.By now I was in year two at Liverpools College of Building,having just scraped through year one,I was now enjoying college,it was a Day Release from work,so a great break from the factory,we had to do four such college years,I finally did the last years London City of Guilds in Carpentery and Joinery and in that last year I passed with distinction,I was also invited to sit the exam for the Carpenters Guild,I passed that too,by this stage it was clear that my early education was not by very tallented teachers?

Peter Tyson?

Well he was to form a large part of my life as it turned out,I had decided around 1968 to emigrate to South Africa,I informed Mr Peter and to my surprise about three weeks later,recived a copy of a letter from the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce and and a company in Wetton,Cape Town,named Brimble and Briggs,offering me a position in their company,this was all due to Mr Peter having written to the Chamber of Commerce here in Cape Town and enquiring if they could find suitable position for one of his companies apprentices? I flew out with the aid of a company called Samorgan,it cost me all of seventeen pounds (17) for the air fare,then found myself at work just three days after my arrival.Many years later I wrote to Peter Tyson,telling him of my sail to Salvador,Bahia,Brasil,on Brer Terrapin,an Ingrid 38 ketch,his return mail and reply was for me 'To keep on Sailing', he told me he had a small yacht hinself in Greece,he was envious of my trip it seems,I took his advice and all these years later I am still sailing!


September 11th 2013 and I have just found this.

PT will be the same Peter Tyson who I knew.


 Tyson's Contractors in Liverpool were founded in 1823, built a good part of the city. My Grandfather was Henry Tyson, my father Harry Tyson, born in Liverpool 1897. Henry Tyson had four brothers, all older than he.All were involved in the works on Dryden Street. William Tyson could be one of them? The two younger brothers came to the US in the early 1900's to set bricks, first in PA and then AL in the steel mills.


A man named Les Gillham was the joinery factory manager, he wore a white dust coat most of the time.
He drove a Rootes Car Co Sunbeam Rapier I think , the model year will have been around 1967, the car was painted in gold metalic.

He was rather taken aback when he saw Dave Hassall in his similar colour car and brand new, being a Sunbeam Stilletto and year 1968. Like me Dave was an apprenetice Joiner, I had a metalic blue Stilletto,  the factory manager had an older car than ourselves!


One fellow apprentice Joiner was Robert (aka The Milky Bar Kid) as he looked a lot like the TV advert guy. Robert lived in Walton, we became great friends and he often joined the the CYC on weekend camping trips ( camping club youth) I can not remember his surname.

 We all had nicknames and mine was Maghull, the town I then lived in, with an accent a lot different to those from Liverpool, my nickname stuck until I left Tysons.

This is a VERY rare picture of the inside of the Joinery shop in Tysons, Robert really should not have his fingers and hands where he does on that electric planer.

 I took the picture, circa 1964/5 I would think.

This is the junction of Great Homer and Dryden streets, circa 1958.

Same agin, Dryden Street is off to the left and the picture will have been taken in Great Homer Street.

My thanks to Liverpool Picture Book for the use of the pictures.

More Tysons memories:

After I had been at Tysons a year or so John Penn came into the main factory and also as an apprentice Joiner. It was a practice
that a trade be learned by any son who was to work for the company and a good one too.
John and myself got on quite well and I visited his home a couple of times, on the other side of the water and in Oxton I have just found.
It was a large double story home with the garage to the right of the driveway.
John had a Vespa scooter, we went off to his home from Tysons, I was on the pillion seat, we reached the start of the entry to the
Mersey Tunnel, there was a Traffic Policeman on duty standing high up on his box and to our right, he waved John and myself on, John
moved forward and right under the policeman we fell off the sooter on the slippery road!


Note, Tysons can also be found on Facebook now, so if thats your thing just enter Tysons Liverpool, you should find it easy enough.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Pouso,Enseada de Palmas,Ilha Grande island,south of Rio de Janerio,this was Peters Place

Left click pictures and text to view and read full size,

Thie above came in from friends living in Picton,South Island,New Zealand,Paula and Ian Allen,who run a successfull guest house down there,many thanks to both of you,your input predates my own and just opens yet a few more pages on the man Peter Thurridl,PY1ZAK.

TBA boat on Table Bay at the Easter regatta

Photo by R McBride using his trusty Canon FT.left click the picture to view full size.

Tara,which then became Squire,due to a new owner not wanting what he said was an indian name,Tara sounds just fine to me? That is a very early Mk1 Aries Vane Gear servo pendulum self steering gear hanging off the back,they are quite rare but do have a tendency to see the vane leave the water in very rough weather,thats why the designer Nick Franklin, changed the design later on to include the by now normal side tubes,as well as carry control ropes,they stop the vane from going past a certain angle.

I have spoken to Nick in the past,he supplied me with a batch of three of his Mk3 vane gears,thats the removable type,I sell my yacht but never my Aries,they are just wonderfull silent crew members!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Cape Town V & A Waterfront traditional boat regatta

Left click to view this picture full size.

Ocean Cloud to the left,with Tara center,She is to the right of Tara,thats Brians grey head you can just see on She!Photo taken by R McBride with a Canon FT using a 50mm 1.4 lens.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Didi minis packing and collection

A general view of our factory,the large box on the right,is now in the position that the export crate was in a short while back,we will be loading the plys to Gregs Didi mini transat race version into that crate in the morning,you can see the small box part loaded with his epoxies,this is ready to close off now and we have his stringers all machined today,transport of Gregs kit will take place by road later this week.Crate number three will then be assembled for shipping of Daves Didi mini transat cruise all the way down to Perth in Austrailia.

A didi mini transat kit as we pack and crate.

Johns Didi Mini transat cruise kit,leaving the factory and on its way to England by sea.

We have three such kits on the go right now.two are the Cruise mini transats with the lifting keel,the other is the real racing Mk2 version with the fixed alloy keel,here we have a few pictures of the packing routine.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Another classic boat picture

Left click the picture to view full size and see all the details.

Seen here is a smart group of TBA yachts preparing for a days sail on Table Bay,the venue is just oppsite Quay Four in the V&A Waterfront.I am not sure of the outer boats name,it could be Curlew? but next to her is the Van Der Stadt designed Dogger, Kestral then Brat of Dunkirk with Kalahari Sands next to her and tied alongside,thats her owner Don Houghton in the shirt and long pants,with Captain Brian Greenwood in the yellow tee shirt.

Didi 26 build of one of our kits

Another export,this time to the USA.

Didi 26 being built in house from one of our kits,I built the hull alone in fifteen (15)days only.