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Vintage Kingston: Crane driver has New Malden's top job
6:00am Saturday 7th September 2013 in News
From the Comet: Wednesday, September 4, 1963
You climbed 101 bright yellow rungs of a vertical steel ladder before your head came up sharply against the floor of Mr David Brennan’s “office”.
But a Surrey Comet reporter and photographer were spared painful contact with it when they made the fitness-testing climb 50 years ago.
For Mr Brennan, a short, stocky, sandy-haired Irishman, had the door open and was smiling encouragement down.
Mr Brennan held Malden’s top job as a crane operator over the building site on the corner of Malden Road and Blagdon Road.
His day was spent in the cab, measuring just 4ft 6in square.
Mr Brennan told the Comet: “I might make seven or eight trips up and down in the course of a full day with overtime.
“We’re only about 100ft high at the moment, and before this job’s finished the cab will go to about 170ft.”
Mr Brennan, of DeBurgh Road, Wimbledon, came to England from his native County Westmeath in 1952.
He said: “Climbing up here is nothing to the crane erector’s job. They have to walk right out along the jib to fix limit switches.
“Training for this job takes about three months.
“Learning the controls is nothing – it’s acquiring the judgment that takes the time.”
The controls were, indeed, simple – two tiny hand levers and four buttons were mounted on the control box.
Mr Brennan said: “It’s all judgment – you have to judge how much the load will continue to swing, and you have to know how far out along the job the dolly is and related the distance to a spot on the ground.
“They only have telephones in the highest cranes. Here the slinger indicates a load and where it is to go with a whistle and a few hand signals.”
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50 YEARS AGO: September 4, 1963
Avenging themselves for a defeat earlier in the season a team of bowlers got together by the mayor of Kingston, Councillor W J Marshall, beat a similar team led by the mayor of Epsom, Councillor WA Glover. Kingston won at Canbury Gardens.
25 YEARS AGO: September 9, 1988
A meals on wheels volunteer received an outstanding service award for her dedication. Mrs Mella Trotter, of Manor Drive, Surbiton, had been wheeling out meals for 25 years. She was given a certificate from Help the Aged and Foodservice.
10 YEARS AGO: September 5, 2003
Plans to build a cemetery in a 20-acre field next to Tolworth Court Farm were rejected by councillors. South of the borough planning committee refused the application because it was out of character with the area. 18 objection letters were received.