The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

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Hughie
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The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

Post by Hughie » Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:46 am

Very gratifying to receive a copy of "The Plug Dropper" from Oliver Prim one of our members.
I have acquired a copy of the book called The Plug Dropper written by the ex Ardrossan fireman and MP if you are interested let me know your address and I will post it to you as a small thanks to all your efforts in maintaining this excellent website. if you have already read it perhaps it could be passed on to someone on the forum who has not had the chance too.
Regards
Oliver Prin
I'll be loaning it around our Australian members on a first come bases. It will be available around mid-September as we have two members near me who wish to read it and it wont require posting. After that I'll post it to the next in line and advise who next to post it onto from there. Please e-mail me at hugh.mccallum@gmail.com if you'd like to put on the list of borrowers.
Plug Dropper.jpg

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Re: The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

Post by georgemc » Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:08 pm

Hi Hugh,
The book was written by my uncle Bill Hilton Jr ,I can remember when he was formating it, he came back up from
London to discuss his recollections with other guys that worked on the railway.

Very proud of his background and early days in Saltcoats, was a labour MP in London ( Bethnal Green if I recall correctly ) for several years.

Was friendly with another local MP D Lambie.I think they both worked in London at the same time, but not sure.
He also wrote another book about the trade unions.
George

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Re: The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

Post by Meg » Sun Aug 03, 2008 7:47 pm

I have a copy here in Ayr if someone in the 3T would like to borrow it - Mitchie's grandfather and my uncle - Charlie Gordon - is mentioned in the book. PM me if you would like to borrow.

Meg

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Re: The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

Post by Rowanside » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:43 am

hi Margaret Anne,I.Read "The plug Dropper "years ago,Bill was the member of Parliament for "Berthnal Green",and was friendly with David Lambie (My Ex Father in Law.).Bill retired to "Christie Gardens " in Saltcoats,and i had the honour of meeting him on a few occasions.Like my father,he was a railway man,as was the old true socialist ,Dan Mc Millan(councillor),Willie Currie (Provost)Archie Manual MP,whom David succeeded at MP for Central Ayrshire.
During the 60s and early 70s the N.U.R.Produced many fine local and national politicians,all railwaymen.

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Re: The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

Post by georgemc » Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:33 am

Alan,
You are thinking about my Granfather Bill Hilton Sn, he retired from union / political activities and lived on the Braes in Saltcoats. He died several years ago at the grand old age of 98.
My Uncle ( his son, Bill Jr ) moved to the London area in the 50s and never returned to Scotland, with exception of
his yearly visits to see family members.
He left politics, and became a director of the National House Building Association.
He died at an early age about 14 years ago.

George

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Re: The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

Post by Rowanside » Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:41 am

Thank you for puting me straight on that George,i guess the mist of time is apt to confuse.Would i be correct in saying that it was your Grandfather who was a great contributer to the letters page in the "Herald" ?.Ialways read his contributions with interest.
Alan.

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Re: The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

Post by georgemc » Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:17 am

Hi Alan,
Yes, spot on, for a while he had one published nearly every week for a long time.
Always for the underdog, and very active in the local Labour party right up until
his death, still miss him, and in this day and age wish there was more like him.

Best Regards George

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Re: The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

Post by Rowanside » Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:44 am

Hi George,Yes i recall him as one of my mentors.I was Sec of Ardrossan LP,the old C.D.C . L.P,Northern Ayrshire .C.N.D,
And a member of the Scottish Exec Council of the Socialist Education Association.People like your Grandfather,"Auld "Bob Lambie et al were very supporting.

Kindest Regards, Alan

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Re: The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

Post by Mitchy » Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:28 pm

Meg Gordon wrote:I have a copy here in Ayr if someone in the 3T would like to borrow it - Mitchie's grandfather and my uncle - Charlie Gordon - is mentioned in the book. PM me if you would like to borrow.

Meg
I was very kindly given a copy of this book to keep by Tom McGrattan. There is a fair sized section where the Author describes being the Fireman for my Grandfather Charlie Gordon, detailing the conversation they were having. When I gave the book to my Mother she was absolutely thrilled as she read those pages. There is also a photograph of Charlie in his Engine.

It was a good read, and the Author was correct when he said not enough had been written about the railways in these parts. When I was younger my Grandfather regaled me with many a railway story. He was never fully happy when he moved to the diesels, always preferring the standard issue dungarees and cap associated with the steam engines to the smart new diesel drivers uniform. The railway was his life and he is the reason I have such a keen interest myself.

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Re: The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

Post by John Donnelly » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:14 am

My uncle John (Kelly) was a driver on the Caley. He used to love it, but when they changed to diesels, he complained bitterly about the draft in the cabin. He never had a problem in the open footplate of the steam engine.

Ain't folk funny.

JD

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Re: The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

Post by Mitchy » Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:46 am

John Donnelly wrote:My uncle John (Kelly) was a driver on the Caley. He used to love it, but when they changed to diesels, he complained bitterly about the draft in the cabin. He never had a problem in the open footplate of the steam engine.

Ain't folk funny.

JD
Hi John,

My Grandfather (and no doubt other Engine Drivers) used to keep a clean shovel on the footplate to heat up his food. Maybe they didn't like the diesels because there was no cooker in the cab :D

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Re: The Plug Dropper - Ardrossan Steam Engine Days

Post by John Donnelly » Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:39 pm

Here's an old topic being revived.

Hughie loaned me his 'Plug Dropper' which I enjoyed very much. The only problem I had with it was that he never explained what the plugs were which were dropped and why it was such a disaster. It seems to be something to do with the water supply to the boiler.

If any-one can shed any light on this, I'd be eternally grateful.

Jimmy Courtney, who also gets honourable mention, used to live opposite my brother in Stevenston. I knew Jimmy since I was a boy. He came about our shop in the Boglemart. I was going to ask Jimmy when I was home in November, but when I got there, he had passed away earlier in the year.

JD.

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