Search

Rich history of Felixstowe docks remembered by port stalwarts - what are your memories?

PUBLISHED: 12:10 19 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:43 20 January 2020

Chantry Juniors children visit Felixstowe Docks for a tour in 1986  Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

Chantry Juniors children visit Felixstowe Docks for a tour in 1986 Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

A group of retired Port of Felixstowe workers is calling on the community to share their memories of the town's famous docks.

Former dockworkers from the Port of Felixstowe will be meeting up this month to share their memories  Picture: ALEX FAIRFULLFormer dockworkers from the Port of Felixstowe will be meeting up this month to share their memories Picture: ALEX FAIRFULL

The port was originally opened as the Felixstowe Railway and Pier Company in 1875 by Colonel George Tomline, but has majorly transformed in its 145-year history.

In 1967, it became Britain's first container terminal and has since risen to the rank of being the eighth busiest container port in Europe - and even welcomed the world's biggest container ship, the MSC Gulsun, in 2019.

With thousands of workers and millions of containers having passed through its gates, even the royal family has played its part in keeping the port running.

In 2011, Princess Anne loaded the inaugural box onto the MSC Esti during the opening ceremony for its new berths, while Prince Philip has twice visited the port - partly due to his love for all things maritime.

Princess Anne visit to Felixstowe Docks in February 1979  Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVEPrincess Anne visit to Felixstowe Docks in February 1979 Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

And with the town's infrastructure hub's rich history, a group has been created by former workers to help share memories.

The Retired Felixstowe Dockworkers Association is now run by a committee of former workers.

One of those on the committee, 62-year-old Ian Gow, said the port plays an integral role in the town like nowhere else can.

You may also want to watch:

Mr Gow said: "It was a very strenuous job in the old days, but the most important thing was the community and the camaraderie - everybody looked out for each other.

"Let's face it, most of us have probably spent more time with our work partners than our real partners at home!

"At the end of the day, the place really became one big family.

"It really was a great job for us all, it was the place where you got a job when you were young and stayed there for the rest of your life.

"It is absolutely essential to the town and has been for years."

The group also regularly organises events including trips to the Houses of Parliament, breweries and ferry excursions.

Mr Gow added: "There is an awful lot of us dockers out there and we just want the opportunity for us all to come together and share our happy memories."

The group, which now has 160 members, will be holding its next event on January 28 at the Trimley Sports and Social Club from 1pm to 6pm.

Do you have fond memories of your time at Felixstowe docks? Send your stories to us via email

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star