Hardback - 256 Pages
Softback - 192 Pages
About Below The Waterline
Below The Waterline follows the Author through his experiences
from the end of his apprenticeship in 1961 with The London
Graving Dock Co. on the Isle of Dogs, now generally known as
Canary Wharf, to his time in the Merchant Navy as an engineer.
Those were the days of what could be considered the last
generation of ‘Hands on Engineers’ who maintained the ships
engine rooms by the senses of sight, sound and feel, often with
a bit of blood and always plenty of sweat.
Under normal circumstances they spent eight hours a day, split
into two four hour watches in the engine room, unlike today’s
automated engine rooms where engineers spend most of their time
in sound proof, air conditioned control rooms keeping an eye on
the computers and CCTV of the machinery spaces.
In those days the working conditions down below would have given
today’s ‘Health and Safety’ brigade apoplexy. However it would
be hard to find a ships engineer from those halcyon times that
didn’t consider his time at sea as the happiest time of his
About Dockland Apprentice
192 pages and 45 illustrations, Dockland
Apprentice provides a fascinating insight into what
life was like for an apprentice marine engineer within the London
Docks during the 1950's. It was an area considered by most Londoners
as mysterious and inaccessible, some parts enclosed and hidden
from view by enormous walls and others bordered by marshland.
The nearest that most people came was the sight of the ship's
funnels and cranes that dominated the skyline as they travelled
to work on the train.
The Docks were full of colourful and eccentric characters. Working
conditions at the time were very different to today and the
author describes both from an intimate knowledge.
was an indentured apprentice and learned the skills necessary
for a long and exciting career that involved repair work in
one of the foremost shipyards and on many of the magnificent
ships that docked in one of the world's busiest ports.
About The Author
||After completing his
apprenticeship at The London Graving Dock Company in
1961, David Carpenter
joined the Merchant Navy and went
to sea as an engineer with The New Zealand Shipping
Company and later with Buries Marks Ltd.
With marriage on the horizon he gave up a deep sea career and
took up a position as Chief Engineer on an ocean going motor
yacht cruising the Mediterranean and home waters.
Later he bought a Cornish shark fishing boat and operated a
fishing and diving charter business from the South Coast. After
several years, with bureaucracy and the health and safety
brigade manifesting itself, he returned to marine engineering.
He was appointed as a Company Director to Catamaran Workboats
Ltd who designed and built workboats for the North Sea oil
industry and he also managed a marine engineering business on
the South Coast.
He retired in 1992 to concentrate on restoring and operating
vintage cars and motorcycles with which he still campaigns in
sprints and hill climbs. He also runs a family business
supplying his vintage Rolls Royce motor cars to the wedding
His writing career spans many years, with technical and historic
articles in various publications. ‘Below The Waterline’ is his
His previous book, ‘Dockland
Apprentice’ was awarded a highly commended in History
Today’s New Generation Book of The Year (2005).