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Author Topic: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet  (Read 40269 times)

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Offline Kentishwolf

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet
« Reply #61 on: April 11, 2014, 18:29:47 »
Taken from a postcard of Henley's War Memorial.
The Fields Lie Sleeping Underneath.

Offline mmitch

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet
« Reply #60 on: December 11, 2012, 10:12:20 »
I had never heard of automatic lathes until I started work in the 'Engineering'
One man feeding bar in one end and finished nuts coming out the other!
 If that crane is what I remember they ran on rails up in the roof? The driver stood in a cab hanging below it. There was an explosion and fire in the cable test shop once and a driver was trapped because of power failure. Luckily his mates found a ladder to get him down. After that the cabs had an escape system fitted. The driver put on a harness and jumped! He was lowered slowly to the ground on a wire. The makers had to demonstrate it to the drivers though!
mmitch.

Offline DaveTheTrain

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet
« Reply #59 on: December 10, 2012, 20:51:14 »
With regards to some of the equipment, I bought some machinery and now use it for steam preservation work at home.  We have an electric overhead crane in the shed at home that came out of AEI and IIRC our radial arm drill came from AEI also.  So the equipment is still in use, in fact we used the hoist tonight to drag something out.

DTT

Offline mmitch

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet
« Reply #58 on: December 10, 2012, 10:21:46 »
As a 'Young person' of 15 in 1960, I was entitled to a dinner and sweet for 1 shilling
(5p now) Adults paid 2 shillings. Canteen got really bad at one time and few used it so AEI got a chef in to teach everyone to cook properly and it soon filled up again!
 About 1965 I was part of the crew jointing the 33kv submarine cable sections together as they came off the final machine and before it boarded the cable layer.
It went to the Isle of Mull and the Isle of Wight.
mmitch.

Dazed n Confused

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet
« Reply #57 on: December 10, 2012, 01:18:24 »
There are loads of memories of the site - but maybe this is not the forum for them - it's still a shock to see the site now though......

As long as they are printable I don't see a problem. Memories = History = KHF.......

S4.

I can't help but wonder where all of the machines and documentation all went. Did the factory relocate to somewhere else and re-use the plant, possibly? Maybe it all got sold off when the factory closed down?

The Schloemann Press was an interesting piece of kit. It lifted two large billets of solid aluminium and pressed them into a heated central block to produce a given shape of extruded aluminium. Because the plant operated at such high temperatures, oil could not be utilised as a lubricant so graphite had to be employed. The number of times I emerged from the hydraulic section (downstairs beneath the main press area) looking like I'd been rolling in coal. The story was, that the plant had been taken as spoils after the second world war and relocated in the UK. Originally, there was no computer control of the plant - it was all relay logic. The only item which possessed a modicum of electronic control was the 'spanner' which adjusted the emerging extruded metal from the block. Due to the age of the plant, I had to redesign the original system to use electronic parts of the day - I was only 21 or so at the time!! Someone trusted me!! 8-)

The old factory had a couple of unused areas in my time. I seem to remember that each area used to feature a vertical extruder of some sort - NuCat and VeeCat I think their names were. They were redundant when I started at AEI but I heard on the grapevine many years later, that the plant was removed and a brand new vertical plant installed...

I remember refitting the Fleetway building to accommodate the submarine cable order we'd won. From the rear of the mourning machine, the cable was coiled into the tank house to await testing and then moving out to the cable ship. It was a big job for me, as I was tasked to synchronise the armouring machine speed, with the cable coiler speed and ultimately the cable ship feed speed out on the gantry. It took me a while to figure it out, but we did it and it actually worked!

One time, there was a fault on the lead sheath extruder in Fleetway. The cable had optical fibre built into the interstices and would melted if left in the extruder block as it operated at 350C or so. We were working night shift to be 'available' in the event of a plant failure, but we were used to keep the cable moving within the block, while the plant was being fixed. We moved the cable forware 10 feet, then back 10 feet, then forward 10 feet - you get the picture. We did this for hours and hours and for what seemed like forever, while the electricians worked feverishly on the plant.

I wonder where all of the people 'went' from the site? Many of my age would still be working though - some retired possibly. Some will no longer be around. Funny how human memory can work: I made a Spanish omelette at home a couple of weeks ago. It tasted EXACTLY how the canteen used to make them at AEI. Not close, not nearly like it - EXACTLY like it. It took me straight back to the canteen, standing in line waiting to be served by Barbera (looked a little like a hair-bleached Hattie Jacques) the 'top dog' of the canteen - or Brian the manager who sometimes had to muck-in with the girls and serve the hoards! Bizarre.

Many more memories - maybe for another time......

Cheers,

D & C.


Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet
« Reply #56 on: December 09, 2012, 12:06:10 »
There are loads of memories of the site - but maybe this is not the forum for them - it's still a shock to see the site now though......

As long as they are printable I don't see a problem. Memories = History = KHF.......

S4.
A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline mmitch

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet
« Reply #55 on: December 09, 2012, 12:02:05 »
Dazed and Confused.
I worked there from 1960 to 68. About 2000 people then, none now.
I had two years in the 'Engineering' building and then 5 years in the Cable and Lines, based in the Jointing school at the end by the pub. A bit before you. Those were the days when you could hear 'Industry' from my home 2 miles away. Nothing left in the area now...
mmitch.

Dazed n Confused

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet - What a mess!
« Reply #54 on: December 08, 2012, 21:09:23 »
Drove along Crete Hall road today. The only bit of the AEI site still standing appeared to be the old ELA building and the front office building. Seems strange to be able to see the chalk cliffs from the road.
mmitch.

I drove along Crete Hall Road last week for the first time in a few years - and got quite a shock!

I now live in Brisbane and was visiting the UK last week and decided to take a look at the old factory where I worked between 1984 and 1991. To find a cleared site was not what I expected at all! The last time I drove along Crete Hall Road was in 2007 (I think) and the site was non-operational but still (relatively!) intact. I'd loved to have had a walk around inside as there were many good memories of working there - a few ghosts too though....

My job at AEI allowed me access all over the site - including AEI Compounds, Frederick Smiths (Wire Drawing), the cable factory itself, Henleys and the old Fleetway building. I must be getting old - I can still remember when the Red Lion pub was worth visiting for a live band and a beer or two!!! We were paid in cash in those days and as a youngster, much of my wage went across the bar and into Leo's till!

I started work in AEI as a cable tester, then in Quality Control, then in the instrument shop (Plant Department) which is the job that took me all over the site for repairs and installations. I've still got some pictures somewhere, of the (then) new Ark Royal coming up the Thames, making its way upstream and passing the cable jetty at AEI. I was at the far end of the jetty and was surprised to see how small the battle ship actually was! No huge gun turrets like the original - a bit disappointing really....

There are loads of memories of the site - but maybe this is not the forum for them - it's still a shock to see the site now though......

Cheers,

D & C


Offline 101sean

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet - What a mess!
« Reply #53 on: March 09, 2012, 10:41:58 »
Just started a thread on Rosherville Pier, just noticed there's a picture of the landward end in this thread.
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=13504.0

With regard to the railway tracks mentioned, you can still see them on Google Earth on Henley's pier and on a piece of land on the corner of Clifton Marine parade

Offline mmitch

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet - What a mess!
« Reply #52 on: June 26, 2011, 19:15:19 »
I worked at AEI in the 1960s, latterly on cables. Before the war a certain type of rubber had been used
in power cables that was identified as the cause of death by cancer in about a dozen cases in the factory.
As we were opening up old cables in the course of our work we all had a 'Mass Xray' (remember them?) once a year. Maybe the same scare?
mmitch.

Helena

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet
« Reply #51 on: June 26, 2011, 09:57:47 »
Hello everyone !!

During the second world war, my Mother worked at Henley's making the rubber gas masks and I am wondering if anyone out there knows anything more about this subject please.

My Mother died in the 90's and after the war someone was sending her a little brown box every six months, to which she was asked to send them a urine sample.  All she knew was it had something to do with having worked in that section.  After they received the box back, all she got was a thank you and confirmation that they had safely received it.  That was it.  But the strange thing is, I called them 1 week after my Mother died to ask them to stop sending them and they said thank you, but they had already been notified.  After that conversation, I checked with the rest of my family and they said they didn't call them.  So how did they know?  Were her medical records made available to them?  If so, I would like to know why?  Was there something dangerous with making those gas masks?

Offline mmitch

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet - What a mess!
« Reply #50 on: February 16, 2011, 15:32:22 »
Drove along Crete Hall road today. The only bit of the AEI site still standing appeared to be the old ELA building and the front office building. Seems strange to be able to see the chalk cliffs from the road.
mmitch.

Offline mmitch

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet - What a mess!
« Reply #49 on: June 14, 2010, 10:33:55 »
The impulse plant was in what was then the test department. It was the river end of the main cable making shop. As the drums of cable left the machine they were tested in an area surrounded by removable safety fencing that were linked electrically together.
mmitch.

wolfen

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet - What a mess!
« Reply #48 on: June 13, 2010, 21:35:11 »
mmitch,

The impulse plant in your day must have had the seventh stage fitted, when I used it, it only had six fitted and was limited to about 750kVp (750,000v DC).

Was the impulse plant over in the old C-span part of the test-department at that time?

Wolfen

Offline mmitch

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Re: W T Henley/AEI Cable Works Northfleet - What a mess!
« Reply #47 on: June 13, 2010, 13:43:08 »
I worked in AEI Gravesend in the 1960s. When the paper insulated cables had been saturated in their thick resin like oil they were transported on metal reels on the railtrack to the lead sheathing department. When I was there they used a large forklift to move the trailers.
 I can remember the impulse plant being tested after overhaul. I believe it was checked at 1065000 volts!
We had to warn the whole factory before the bangs.
mmitch.

 

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