It is four years since I began this series and this time for sure the barrel is dry. However, rather than let our stalwart, hardworking editor down, I thought I might muse a little on my own roots
Great, Great, Great Grandfather Thomas Hustwick was born in Hull in 1751 where he served his apprenticeship as a shipwright, probably with his father (Shipwright Thomas Hustwick Senior, 1720-1797). As a major seaport Hull offered plenty work for shipwrights, but by 1784, aged thirty-three, young Thomas was in Dover, with his common law wife Jane Rapely, daughter Frances and son Robert, building large ships for the Navy and the East India Company.
The village of Kingston was once the centre of a thriving shipbuilding industry which sent its products all over the world. It owes its name to one of the original shipbuilders, William Osbourne of Kingston-upon-Hull. He and his partner, Ralph Dodsworth of York, purchased the forest of Glenmore from the Duke of Gordon in 1784. Timber was floated down the Spey to Garmouth where it was shipped south.
In those far off days Kingston was a flourishing place with hundreds of men working in the shipyards. They came from surrounding villages and unemployment was virtually unknown. When a boy left school he was taken straight to the yards to train as a shipwright. There was no transport then and many weary men must have walked home at the end of a working day as there was little accommodation available here in the villages.
The Spey Viaduct
1883, Great excitement. At long last the villages and towns of the north east were to have a coastal railway built by the Great North of Scotland Railway Company and it was going to pass through Garmouth. Can you imagine – no more long waits for the irregular, three-times weekly omnibus. Heavy goods delivered almost to the door. Summer visits from family and friends with few transport problems to overcome and the joy of young and old on hearing and seeing the chugging steam engines stopping at their very own station.