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The Demolition hub

Updated on October 10, 2015

Me Stuart Goddard

maritime demolition
maritime demolition | Source

Hello from England

My first day on the new hub pages layout so just a brief introduction. That's me in the picture the big guy not the other one. He was a local lad who I set on as a metal burner. This job was the former Mersey ferry terminal.

Behind me are the last few pontoons that kept her afloat, There were 24 pontoons in all and some were nearly new. The ones in the picture are some of the more heavily corroded ones.

The entire thing weighed about three thousand tonnes and had shops and an aquarium on the deck.

The company I was carrying out the work went bust owing me about £200,000 and under normal circumstances I should of ripped all my suppliers off and had it away with the scrap metal money.

Well I did not I paid every one out and muddled through and finished the job and kept the company as well, Do not intend doing it again any time soon.

After that experience I decided to re train in computer aided design which I still do.

Although I still get the odd call for bits and bats of demolition work and particularly thermal lancing which is a bit of a dying art. it uses pure oxygen which is forced down a conduit style tube and kicks a hell of a lot of heat out, About 4,000 degrees and will cut just about anything even concrete.

I suppose at fifty I have seen most things and as I got off to a bit of a bad start being brought up in the civil engineering and demolition industry from the age of twelve basically I was at work weekends and holidays and some times just not attending school. So by the time I was sixteen I was taking on the appearance of a thirty year old. Although I would never change a day of it. I can still recall going home at 17 with £70 wages when the average wage for a man would have been around £30.

Had to work hard for it though and that would of been a seven day week all the same it was a glorious age.

Caterpillar 215

215  caterpillar excavator and my Liebherr 912
215 caterpillar excavator and my Liebherr 912 | Source

Caterpillar 215 lc

Here is my old faithful cat 215 and my Liebherr 912 Both were bought second hand but did a lot of years of hard graft. The caterpillar weighs 21 tonnes and the Liebherr is about 12 tonnes.

Nck Crawler Crane

crawler crane with U534 in the back ground
crawler crane with U534 in the back ground | Source


Here is an unusual shot in the foreground is my 40 tonne nck crawler crane with benji the drunken English bull terrier on the way up the dock. There is one of the pontoons in front of the crane and how the old girl pulled all of them out I will never know.

Basically I took all the jib sections out and just used the cat head and root section, In this way the crane would lift it's own weight as a payload.

In the background is U534 a German u boat that was sunk by a Liberator bomber in the last days of world war two. The U boat had sunk in fresh water so she was well preserved and a private investor paid to have her lifted from the sea bed and she was housed on Wallasey docks as a tourist attraction.

I set up camp underneath her and was an unusual sight first thing in the morning,

There was speculation she was carrying Nazi loot and the stern torpedo tubes were open to the sea when she was recovered. I looked around her several times but never found anything.

She has sadly been cut into three pieces now but can still be viewed.

Kobelco 13 tonne backhoe

13 tonne excavator
13 tonne excavator | Source

U 534, Lct 7074

In this picture is my Kobelco 13 tonne machine the German U boat U 534. On the left is The bow shot of LCT 7074 the last tank landing craft from the D Day landings, She carried eleven Sherman tanks and was used as a floating nightclub called the Landfall. She spent most of her years over in Liverpool docks and I think I am right in saying she was the headquarters of the master Mariners association. Lord Goodhart approached me about converting her back from her nightclub appearance and to remove the deck that had been placed over the tank hold. And removing all the internal fittings and concrete floors that has been added.

LCT 7074

LCT 7074 landing craft tank
LCT 7074 landing craft tank | Source

The old man

Well guess who found out I had grabbed a bit of quality work.

My old man turned up to see the work and was in his element as a former RAF man.

He had a wild theory that I should do the work for nothing as a patriotic chore, After he picked his teeth up off the dock. (joking) I gave Lord Goodhart a price for the conversion work. We shook hands and that was that.

I engaged the services of John Wilding a long time friend and chartered quantity surveyor.

He did all the legal stuff (CDM Regs) and I appointed him as the planning supervisor a legal requirement for this type of job. An initial survey showed that the paint was loaded with lead and protective equipment for the burners was issued.

As an unexpected bonus Lord Goodhart wanted to buy four pontoons to put under the landing craft as she kept on shipping water.

I should add although Lord Goodhart was the chairman of the historic warships trust. All the work was paid for out of his own pocket including the purchase of the four pontoons. A fairly substantial sum.

A googles eye view of the job

A view from google earth
A view from google earth | Source

Google earth

I suppose you can get the sense of the size of the job from outer space as it was.

The pontoons that are alongside U534 are for resale and the scrap ones can be just about seen, Some are still in the water.

It is a pretty scary game when jobs come up the size of this one. First order of business is no one gets hurt, Second order of business see above.

U 534,Pontoons,Cat 215

Maritime demolition
Maritime demolition | Source

The job

In the above picture is my NCK c34 Pennine crawler crane. My 215 lc caterpillar excavator. U534 German submarine. The pontoons from the former Mersey ferry landing stage. At the very back is the BAR lightship which was also part of the historic ships collection. The red xr4i sierra ended up trying to ram my caravan into the dock. Well boys will be boys wont they. As a strange twist the mad xr4i driver was given the task of burning some old timber at night for an extra days pay. Well I was awoken at 2 am by the police. They told me that the fire brigade had called when they saw the smoke.

Some one on site threatened them. I asked them to let me deal with it as I had a good idea who the culprit was.

I had already done my homework and was a aware of a by law which allowed me to burn the wood.

When questioned in the morning the guilty suspect was grilled and given a written warning.

Google Earth view

A  Google earth view of lct 7074
A Google earth view of lct 7074 | Source

Google earth view

Here is another google earth view of LCT 7074 This picture shows her with her decks removed. The tank hold had been covered to form the night club roof. Although as far as I know the deck area was welded shut prior to her becoming a nightclub. I did here that she was used as a REME workshop and the work was probably carried out by the armed forces. I did here that the diary of the skipper was in circulation and should be a good read and I am going to have a trawl around the internet and see if I can find it. Anyway here she is after I had completed the work.

U 534 German submarine

U534 German U boat
U534 German U boat | Source

U 534

Here is a shot of U 534 the German submarine that was to be my first sight in the morning. I think I am right in saying she was hit by a Liberator bomber but the munition did not explode it put a hole through her though.

Submarines are with out doubt one the most menacing sights you are ever likely to see especially when they are out of the water.

On a personal note the most moving tv show I have ever watched was Das Boot. It showed the perspective of the German sea men and must have been a horrendous way to die.

I think the fact that it was in English sub titles made it more compelling to watch and if I am being truthful I certainly empathised with the crew.

During this time a slow trickle of German truck drivers would stop by and look at her, And we always offered a cup of tea to them. Not many drink tea It turns out but the offer was there.

U 534 conning tower

Conning tower
Conning tower | Source

U 534 conning tower

It might not be apparent but most of the conning tower has been re built. And done to a pretty high standard. I remember that some anti corrosion experts painted the entire hull in some type of corrosion inhibitor but I can not remember there name. So I can not give them a plug. They may see this and comment you never know.

Planet light ship

Wallasey docks
Wallasey docks | Source

Planet lightship

A view of the planet lightship with LCT 7074 alongside. A sad day when I found out the historic warships trust had gone bust. I feel particularly bad for Lord Goodhart who must of spent a considerable amount of his own time and money on the project. The museum comprised was of a number of ships. The Planet lightship. Hms bronnington(mine sweeper) Hms onyx (Diesel electric hunter killer) Hms plymouth(frigate) Lct 7074(landing craft tank) U534 (German U Boat) A small troop landing craft. There was Lynx helicopter on board the frigate.

Komatsu pc 210

The Bulldog shear
The Bulldog shear | Source

Komatsu pc 210

Just another little job down the road. This is a picture of a komatsu pc 210 fitted with the bulldog shear which we designed and manufactured. The old English Bull Terrier is on the footplate and in his element as usual. The shear was a truly awesome bit of kit although it was prone to operator abuse.

The open ended design meant that you had to position the metal to be cut way back in the jaw.

This one is being demonstrated on a job in Wales and the total amount of metals to be processed was over 18,000 tonnes.

Maritime demolition

Pontoons being processed
Pontoons being processed | Source

Oxy propane cutting

In the fore ground are pontoons being cut down for salvaged metals. At the rear are pontoons which have been sold to a local business man who wants to put them in a lake at New Brighton as a jet ski platform. Well I get hair brained schemes as well so fair play Mike I hope it all works out for you.

A normal picture of chaos

Untidy Site
Untidy Site | Source

A view from the bottom of the site

On the right is the floating structure the Mersey Ferry landing stage. My old baby the nck pennine crawler crane and some assorted oxy propane cutting equipment

Scrap metals

Pontoons undergoing dismantling
Pontoons undergoing dismantling | Source

Pontoons in various stages of dismantling

Above is a photograph of two of the more rotten pontoons. The method for dismantling was to first remove the top deck. We were lucky in the fact that each one was sub divided into eight sections so it was merely a matter of cutting one section at a time off. The amount of flotsam and jetsam is apparent.

Kobelco 13 tonne backhoe

Kobelco 13 tonne 360 degree backhoe
Kobelco 13 tonne 360 degree backhoe | Source

Sunken treasure ?

The Sarsia
The Sarsia | Source

Sunken treasure

Well about this time I was approached by Mersey Docks and Harbour Board regarding a sunken ship. The Sarsia.

She was actually in the same dock system we were working in and more or less opposite to where we were working. The deal was that I would pay a nominal fee for her and the rest was up to me.

So the deal was done and for once I thought I was on a good number. The ferry terminal we were dismantling was full of air bags as these had been put in to keep the structure afloat until the new one could be floated in. And would of been a considerable cost to buy.

Well sods law intervened and the company we were contracted to went bust, So I had to leave her there she was designed as an Icelandic survey ship and I had big ideas for her but alas another great deal of scheming came to nothing.

Historic warships

Warships | Source

Google earth view

A google earth view of the entire Historic warships trust. In the picture is U534 German U boat, HMS Bronnington,HMS Plymouth,HMS onyx,LCT 7074,The planet lightship. All sadly now closed. Seems to me if we do not remember our history how are we going to stop making the same mistakes in the future.

Warships retirement home

Collection of warships
Collection of warships | Source

HMS Onyx

Diesel Electric
Diesel Electric | Source

HMS Onyx Royal Navy Submarine

A deck shot of hms Onyx. She was the only diesel submarine to used in the Falklands conflict and the curator of the warships trust told us she had been used to transfer SAS troops on the Falkland Islands. I walked around here hundreds of times and always found something new to see.

HMS Plymouth

Royal Navy Frigate
Royal Navy Frigate | Source

HMS Plymouth

A shot of the Royal Navy Frigate HMS Plymouth. This ship is the actual place where the Argentine commander of the besieged Falkland Islands surrendered.

I had mixed views about the conflict but if the islanders wanted to stay British not much more to say about it.

Landing craft

Personnel landing craft
Personnel landing craft | Source

What now

Well the burning question in your mind must be where do all the old demolition men go. ?

In my early twenties I ended up working in a kitchen factory as there was no digger work about.

By a stroke of luck a new factory had been built and they were looking for some one to take charge of the production side of things. This was all run by three computers and The manager asked if I knew anything about them. At the time I had been learning basic, Which is a means of talking to a computer in a way it can understand.(if,then,let,goto,alpha numeric and numeric strings,peek and poke) It is a lot easier than it sounds and the main part is getting the syntax right. Well the job did not involve any of that but it was relevant in so much as.If this condition is such..Do that action. In the automation of manufacturing it is pretty simple stuff.

Well three years later and one marriage down the pan it was time to get knocking stuff down again. The company if any one is interested was The Spring Ram Corporation.

Springer Spaniels

Jasper | Source


Well you can see by the look on his face what a pain in the neck this one is. We have had him about a year now.

My best advice is not to buy a puppy. Far better when they get to 1 year old to 2. Now I no I am no good at even following my own advice. if you have the time get a puppy otherwise get an older dog. Always get all the jabs done especially in warmer climates.

German Shepherd

Max | Source


Another new arrival this year is Max a German shepherd dog. It is a long time since I owned one.

This one seems to have been crossed with a Polar bear lol. The dog has had lots of trouble with the squirts and at one time started to lose weight. But seems to have pulled through now.


Lilly | Source

Spot the dog

My old and fat dalmatian Lilly she is getting on a bit now and hates blokes. Except for me of course. I bought her in a bar where she was being housed with a load of Doberman s. We got her home and the wife tried to give her a walk when she came home she was carrying an empty lead. We found the dog in the morning sat on our doorstep. Must of made her mind up to stay.. Boy were there some tears that night.

Search engine optimisation

Well me and my big mouth. With the role out of Panda by Google things have changed a fair bit.

Link building... Forget it unless it is relevant to your subject.

For instance if you re sole shoes and you link to a shoe sales website fair enough. But it better be one that has a lot of traffic.

Link buying from pr 9 sites. Google does not like it one bit and they will more than likely take you down eventually.

Google page rank. Even in there own words it is not a significant marker of anything.

Meta tags I do use and there are loads of free generators out there. Warning back up your templates before you go messing with these.

Twitter to me is a must. In the early days of twitter I was getting up to sixteen thousand hits with it. Ok a lot were bouncing but traffic is traffic. At this time I contacted the computer aided design media experts and told them what I was up to. The end result was my website was No1 on Google. No1 on Yahoo. No1 on bing. Ten links then put me in the top ten Turbocad sites in the world. I will post a screen shot after this post as I no longer maintain the site as it was very limited to what I could do with it.

Tweet adder I have. But no longer use it

Google + is here and logically it will form the next generation of the internet as people will + what they deem as quality content.

Ten links cad industry media specialists

top ten turbocad
top ten turbocad | Source

HMP New Hall

Well we are all formed by our journey through life and as I said before my childhood was more or less always spent in the company of older men and a lot of the time in the work environment. Do gooder types call this a loss of your childhood but to me I would not change a day of it. This inevitably led me into conflict with the law and after I got into a fight and the police turning up and then getting into another fight with the police I ended up in prison. This was the one and only time and was only three months but I did not enjoy it one bit. I wrote about it all on a blog so I will not go through it again. Best thing to say about it is avoid it like the plague.

Revel in your time

One my Favourite lines from the film Blade Runner.

–verb (used without object) take great pleasure or delight (usually followed by in ): torevel in make merry; indulge in boisterous festivities.I have not added the dictionary definition for any other reason than to stop for a minute and think about it.

Demolition diary


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