Mrs Freeman at the controls of the 40 ton Overhead Crane

View taken in Hydraulic No. 1, Bay 3, c.1959

Gloucestershire Archives
Gloucestershire Archives

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  • The Mary in question was my grandmother, Mary Hamp.
    She moved from London to Gloucester during the war with her 3 children. As a single parent due to her first husband deserting her, things were hard. With the help of her mother, my great-grandmother, who was a strict but lovely woman, she managed to cope.
    As was the way then Mary had to send her two sons into care and kept my mother. I have had the misfortune many years ago to meet both my great-uncles and I will never forgive them for the way in which they spoke to Mary.
    In later years she became very good friends with my father’s father so it seemed natural, even though there was 20 years between them, for them to marry and she took the name Lewis.
    Arthur and Mary spent many happy years together until Arthur’s death some 30 years ago. You could not wish for two better grandparents and I spent many happy times with them both.
    I regret Arthur never saw me marry or met my three children but I know they would have loved him dearly.
    Mary is still going strong at 97 and in a care home in Leicester.
    To my regret I haven’t seen her for a few years but I intend to rectify that soon.
    I will never forget the happy times with her at her flat in Kingsholm or the fiercely independent woman that she was!

    Ed: Simon, what a lovely story! Many thanks for sharing it with us. John B

    By Simon Lewis (30/07/2018)
  • “Mary Hamp, used to drive the crane in no 2 fitting shop. She could shout abuse down at the fitters without using one bad word.”
    Tony Ravenhill 30/08/2013

    By Paul Evans (21/02/2018)
  • “The only one I can remember was Mrs Freeman, who had a daughter named Trixy. They lived in Alma Terrace. Mrs Freeman she drove the big crane in number one fitting shop in front of Owen Feltham’s office (foreman ) her daughter Trixy I think worked at Moreland Matches in Bristol Road, the other lady who was on the lower crane (overhead) was Mary Hamp and another name just came to me was Ray Howes he was in heat treatment next to the heavy machine shop”
    Alan Jay 27/01/2013

    By Paul Evans (21/02/2018)
  • “I have a close connection with the two female crane drivers. One was my grandmother Beatrice Freeman; the other was my then neighbour Mary Hamp.

    There was an article on both of them and photographs in The Times of July 11th 1960”
    John Freeman 06/01/2014

    By Paul Evans (21/02/2018)
  • Beatrice Freeman, was an excellent crane driver. I have been on her good side and her bad side. It was much better to be on her good side, believe me. For such a demure lady, she could and would give a very terse and audible account of your life history. To watch her operate her crane to lift and swing a fully laden Pickfords low loader, complete with its heavy load into the shop was amazing. Baker Street was too narrow to allow the Pickfords driver to negotiate their long load into the shop.

    By Jim Rigby (13/09/2013)

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