Large Ships at The Strand

Less than fifty years ago large coasters were coming right up into the Strand and unloading timber and other cargo. This picture shows the Tubo’, a Dutch vessel, unloading a cargo of timber for Thomas Hinds & Sons whose Timber Yard was where Strand Court Senior Citizens Residence stands today.

Bert Hinds can be made out talking to the Captain and some of the work force are gathered around what looks to have been the last load of the day. The little tractor and trailers, owned by Hinds, were a familiar sight on the Quay. It was driven by Johnny Kennard, his father was a driver for Stan Bourne in the days when they had just two lorries. Frank Hinds partnered his brother in the timber business. They imported timber via sea from Sweden or Russia. There were deliveries twice yearly and the little yard at Rye was a busy place. The usual coaster to call at Rye with timber was the Anna, another Dutch ship. Extra part time hands were taken on when the ship came in, the load had to be off within four days or the tides would be too low to allow her out.

Bunch of old Ryers

There were a real bunch of old Ryers working at Hinds. Tommy Sinden was the Foreman, Percy Cooke the lorry driver, Les Page and son Derek worked in the Mill, Tom ‘Jedic’ Apps worked in the yard with Johnny Kennard. When John left and emigrated to Australia 16 year old Robert Hollands took his place. Rob recalls that Bert Hinds was very interested in sport, he was a great supporter and Many other characters were involved when the ‘timber boat’ came in. Johnny Apps, Tom’s brother and Bill Aplin a local window cleaner who lived in Camber were regular helpers.

When Balcon Productions came to Rye to make the film “Dunkirk” they bought a huge amount of timber from Hinds to build a bridge over the river, they intended to blow it up but changed their minds when they realised the implications. They eventu­ally sold the timber from the bridge back to a very shrewd Bert Hinds at a bargain price. The timber kept coming through the fifties and sixties but the business was to be hit by tragedy. The very likable Frank Hinds suffered very badly from arthritis and when the pain became to much to bear he took his own life. Bert kept the business going until his retirement when son in law Ronnie Macullough took charge. Sadly he too died tragically and the terrible se­quence continued when his son, who followed his father into the business, and became such a popular lad on the Rye Community Centre Committee, also died by his own hand. A firm that brought work and prosperity to Rye over many years is gone. No more ‘timber boats’ come up the river into Rye, no more hustle and bustle on the Strand Quay, no more part time workers, no more ‘subs’ off Mr. Hinds for a lunchtime ‘bevy’. There are things from Rye’s past that have gone forever. The ‘timber boat’ is missed by many

Rye’s Own” September 2002