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Page last updated at 12:59 GMT, Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Docks celebrate 150th anniversary
Dockyard worker cleaning sections of a tanker engine in 1960
Dockyard worker cleaning sections of a tanker engine in 1960

One of Cornwall's most important maritime workplaces is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

Since it began a century and a half ago, Falmouth Docks' role has changed dramatically.

Now a new exhibition charting its history has opened at the nearby National Maritime Museum.

Some Falmouth families connections with the docks stretch back many generations such as former Falmouth Docks worker Frank Eva - a retired employee.

Workers removing the propeller from the 100,000 ton Tanker British Admiral

Frank's son is the latest generation of his family to be working at the docks today.

Frank says, "Five generations of my family have worked at the docks.

"My great-grandfather helped build them, I worked in the fitting shop and my son works there today.

"This exhibition not only tells the story of the docks but, in some ways, tells a part of my family's and other family's histories, and I'm very proud it's being celebrated."

Frank himself served his apprenticeship with the docks in 1950 and says he made his mind up as a young man that he would work there, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

"I could have gone in the Army, but I'm glad I didn't because the shipyard, with the men that's in there, it's a life of its own really. The companionship is a wonderful atmosphere."

Frank worked in the engineering shop, becoming a marine fitter which he spent doing all his life.

Even to this day Frank says he often goes up to the viewing area on Castle Drive in Falmouth to have a look at what is going on in the dockyard.

"Someone said to me once, 'You haven't got blood in your veins, you've got the shipyard' and I suppose that's a part of it really."

Frank takes a look at the exhibition and explains, "This is a really wonderful exhibition and the pictures are very illustrative of what the situation was and how men worked years ago, because health and safety wasn't such a feature then".

To really do justice to the docks' story, the museum has created a new space which allows the exhibition to come alive.

Floor to ceiling windows offer the opportunity to see the hustle and bustle of the docks at work today, whilst the new exhibition surrounds you in their history.

The exhibition opens on the 2 December and runs until 30 March 2011.

If former dockyard workers visit, the organisers of the exhibition also want people to write down their memories of their time working at the docks on cards they can pick up when they visit.

The exhibition is on at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth until the end of March 2011.

For more information on the exhibition:



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