Swansea to Lincoln - A Tale of Two Cities

A Postwar Boyhood Engineering Story


clutch component
revolving frame
refevolving frame
hoist clutch

email: ironbuilder@diggerynook.com

54 shovel deck

Telephone UK: 029 20867364

Swansea was my home town with its centre devastated by heavy bombing during the war years leaving holes needing to be filled and places that needed to be rebuilt. Busy diggers were  everywhere: Priestman, NCK, Ransomes & Rapier with the most prominent being Ruston Bucyrus with their factory in the city of Lincoln. It was a name that would become more familiar because they had the first one with enough room allowing me to climb onboard and stand behind their ever changing force of drivers as constantly changing machines came and went, digging holes and swinging the steel girders aloft as they rebuilt our town pulling the array of levers before them. In the course of time my interest took me to Lincoln and the Ruston Bucyrus Excavator factory where they were built. This book is a record of those digger spotting days and my five year apprenticeship at their amazing factory.

There I would begin the first five years of my career on the factory floor building the iron with men who soon became my comrades and whose spirit and character became embedded in me forever. Both the high No 2 Bay machine shop where they engineered the main components and No 3 Bay erecting shop where they built the 38-RB and 54-RB excavator, no longer exist, razed to the ground for an ultra modern style DIY retail experience. No 18 Bay alone, where they built the 10, 19 and 22-RB models, is providing a home for an engineering company while all the remaining unoccupied bays are slowly being pulled down to leave the site sad and desolate, not the slightest hint of what had once taken place there before when hands on manufacturing was at its zenith. 22 Bay along with impressive big machine history also demolished and the test field once throbbing with machine activity stands lifeless. This then is a personal memoir of those halcyon RB years and schooldays befriending those digger drivers and immersing myself in each hoist clutch, revolving frame and component of the machines they drove, setting up my future and ultimate destination. I do not envy your modern world. Fate hath treated me better and I was born at the right time.