In middle 1940s after the war, my friends and I used to play a game where we jumped on the ferry as it left the Saltash Passage side. The game was to see who could stay on longest (I was 6-8 years old). Sometimes, of course, we fell in and were totally submerged (once when I was wearing a new suit).
Most Sundays the family walked from St Budeaux to the ferry and then walked to Burraton to visit Grandparents and then walked back.
Gerald Truscott was (one of) the very last ferryman and I was in Derriford Hospital at the same time as Gerald when he was having his heart problems. He tried tempting me to deviously go for a crafty smoke unbeknown to the nurses and surgeons.
During the last war my boarding school was evacuated to Truro. It was the practice, at holiday time, to arrange for a school train to travel from the Westcountry to London via various points collecting and dropping off a number of evacuated schools. It was the custom that all the children saved their drink bottles and when passing over Saltash bridge to throw them, in a great shower, over the side. This was stopped when it was alleged that a passenger on the ferry was hit by a bottle
Bolland, (nee Dunsford,) Janice
My father, Ken Dunsford, worked on the ferry and was also a well known salmon fisherman on the Tamar. His job on the ferry was directing the traffic. He also lost his two little fingers having caught them in the ferry chains. I also travelled on the last ferry ride in October 1961.
Being taken into Plymouth by my Mum and being bored witless waiting in the ferry queue in the No.76 bus from Callington.
My wife and I caught what we were told was the last ferry and as we came into Saltash a holiday maker lost her handbag over the side and she was asking all the men to dive in and get it as it had her holiday money in it, but alas no one obliged her.
Dundrow nee Butterworth, Mrs M
On our delayed honeymoon in early 1958, we came to Cornwall to go to Looe in an elderly 1926 Clyno 9 from Cheapside near Ascot. We reached the Ferry and crossed OK. But on reaching Culver Road everything went wrong. We suddenly were not going anywhere because the crown wheel and pinion broke and we were marooned. Help came from the Riverside Garage who towed the car and repaired it there. I was taken on a grand tour of, what were then, narrow lanes back to the garage. The driver (my then husband) was towed to the top of the steep hill and left there to roll down to the garage and wait for me there. They kindly took us to Looe where we stayed until the repairs were done and returned safely on the ferry.
I remember at the evening time when I was about 12 years old – being picked up at Tavistock School and going across the ferry to Saltash. I was with my uncle Michael Foot – I thought it was incredibly exciting!
Used the ferry as a young girl with my friends buy a pint of winkles, catch ferry back to St Budeaux. It was lovely.
Dr John Clarke tried to deliver my Sister. Use forceps – still unable. Baby was half in half out. Mother bleeding. Ambulance to ferry, ferry half way across. Signal by lantern to return which it did. Once across into Lockyer Street, baby and mother 50/50 to survive. They did – 23 June 1944. Myself, I used to go across to play in park. My Dad, John Mitchell used to use it to go to work at Bull Point on his bike.
My friends and I always went to Plymouth Argyle matches via the ferry. Many came from villages several miles from Saltash. My one memory is of a car whom I knew was from Pensilva and was refused entry on the ferry. We felt there was room for this vehicle and the anger that erupted as an onlooker will never be forgotten.
My dad and brother worked on the ferry for many years. Then when the bridge opened they worked on the bridge in the toll booths. Dad used to show me the engine room on the ferry. My dad was Jack Harper – Lander Road and my brother was Richard Harper.
Lavelle, Michael When Plymouth Argyle was playing at home my father and some friends would join the ferry queue in his car. They would go to the Boatman Pub (when it had an archway). It generally took two or three fills before the car could board. My job (aged 12 or 13) was to move the car along in the queue. When we reached near to the front my father and friends would appear. I would then walk home with extra pocket money.
Long queues coming down a steep winding narrow hill on the Plymouth side of the ferry in the late fifties on a hot day. This was in the days when there were battleships etc moored in the river, one of which may have been HMS Roberts or Rodney with 15” or 16” guns.
[It was always a] case of first on first off. You always tried to get in front of a Dawes Creamery lorry. The ferrymen were good. If they knew you they would move the cars up so there was room for you. Coming to work I took a bus from Landrake to catch the train at Saltash. If we missed the train we came down to the ferry and looked for a workmate and get a lift to Portland Square where I worked in an office. I went in with one of our local travellers from the wholesale drapers.
I can remember going across on the ferry with my mother when I was very young (born 1958). I don’t know if there were any seats to sit on or if people had to stand. All I knew was I was on the bridge of the ferry. My mother worked in the Land Army during the war time. She spoke of her memories of these times and I remember her saying she worked out to Pill for Tom Whale and would at times have to take the cows from Pill down Old Ferry Road to the ferry and see them on.
Grandad (Mr J A Lavens, who made the working model ferry) used to charge ferry passengers for leaving their bikes in his shed. The charges were less than taking it on the ferry!
Around 1957/58 my family lived in Plymstock. It was our treat as children to take the No 6 Western National double-decker bus from Plymstock to Saltash Passage on a Sunday afternoon. We would cross on the ferry and then return to play on the beach under the bridge and enjoy an ice-cream. A memorable day out.
Catching the ferry to go to the cinema on a Sunday because the Saltash Cinema was closed it was the State cinema.
At the end of the 1940’s I lived on the St Budeaux side of the river Tamar, halfway up Normandy Way. I recall how, word spread like wild fire when what we called “The Tree Lorry” was landing at Saltash Passage. ”The Tree Lorry” consisted of a trailer about 40 feet long carrying three huge tree trunks, the whole thing was towed by a tractor unit attached to the front. I remember that quite big crowds would gather to watch, particularly if it was low tide as then , after all other vehicles had been offloaded, the tractor unit would drive up to the road by The Ferry Inn attached to the trailer by a steel hawser. The ferry men would lay special pieces of wood in front of the trailer to reduce the angle between the ferry prow and the ramp. Then the trailer loaded with the three huge trees would be winched up the ramp on the hawser to the tractor unit. This usually took some time and was exciting to watch as a young boy. I am hopeful that someone else will remember the loading onto the ferry at Saltash of this transporting of trees.
When I was a teenager, a group of us would catch the train from North Road (our area) to Saltash. We would walk down from the station collect winkles, then catch the ferry back to Plymouth. Mother would boil up the winkles, to be picked out unbroken!) with a pin – Lovely!
We lived in Plymouth when I was a child (now 68). My Mum and Dad used to bring me across the Saltash Ferry on a nice day and we would have cockles from cockle alley. They would have a shandy and we would go home happy. Imagine the youngsters of to-day if they were taken on a trip like that. I don’t think they would be amused but we thought it was a treat. Saltash was so oldé world then.
My sister Barbara was 6 years older than me. Sadly she died 2 years ago and I have no-one to confirm these dates, but I think it must have been 1932 or 33. We lived in Greendale Terrace, Victoria Road and summer mornings we would hurry down to catch the 07.00 ferry. At the St Budeaux side we would turn left, go to the little beach under the Bridge – no-one around, get undressed and swim until we heard the ferry bell ring. Back to Saltash, uphill to home, breakfast, school clothes – Barbara to the “Grammar” School, me to North Road Girls’ School. The old equivalent of to-day’s “wake up – shake up”! We were Barbara and Betty Parkes. I hope this is of interest.
Crowley, Mrs L
My memory of Saltash Ferry is walking to Saltash Passage as a child with my parents from Barne Barton. On the way we would see all the traffic queued in Wolseley Road to go on the ferry. We would watch the ferry when full going across to Saltash.
I remember my weekly visit from my home at Saltash Passage to my Grandparents in Saltash. I was 9 when my Dad and caught the last ferry across and then walked back across the Tamar Bridge the night before it opened.
Farley, Mrs P.E.
My youngest son was about 18 months old, he’s now 49 years. We stopped at the ferry steps as we took him out of the car he went straight for the slipway into the water shouting “Do Do” meaning swans and went right in to the top of his suit. We managed to grab him by the top of it.
I was born within the sound of the ferry bell and have been over and back many times. I remember missing the ferry one night from SaltashPassage during the war and I went up and walked the railway bridge escorted by a soldier who was on guard. I knew Gerald Truscott who worked on the ferry very well and I have his CD. The ferry chain used to break sometimes and the queue would be back to Dawes Creamery.
Harris, Molly M
Every Thursday from 1947-1952 a bunch of friends from the Saltash side of the Tamer who all had motorbikes would visit Plymouth speedway. On returning home we would all line up at the front of the ferry waiting to see who could roar off first trying to imitate the speedway riders. It was a very exciting end to the evening.
In one way it was a sad day Saltash lost the ferry. I have one funny memory. My father-in-law had a shop on the corner of Burraton Cross. He was a saddler and hardware shop. He done a oil round and covered the villages of Saltash. He had a horse and trap, one time he borrowed Mr Cook’s horse, he was the milkman. He started to fill the cart with oil. The next thing the horse and cart trotted off and finished down at the ferry as he was used to go there and over to St Budeaux side to deliver milk. Another thing was you knew everybody. My daughter was born 1947, by then the shop had a van to deliver the oil on the Saturday. He took me to Plymouth, the worst day to go, more so if Argyle was playing home and when we came back, there was a long queue so I was worried as I was feeding her, so my husband said, “Don’t worry there must be someone we know in the front, who will take you”, as we had left her at the shop. As I said you knew everyone and you helped each other. When my daughter was born I had to catch the last ferry over my husband’s cousin was the driver for the ambulance. We had to go to Freedom Fields Hospital. The ferry waited for it to come back otherwise it would have had to go back to the Torpoint Ferry. Gerald Truscott was the engineer on the Ferry. That is down at Waterside.
Mum had to get the timing right for the ferry when coming in from Landrake by car and then catch the bus at Saltash Passage to work in Plymouth. When there was a long queue for the cars at Saltash Passage, Mum and I left Dad with the car and came across as foot passengers to get the tea started.
I remember coming over as a child on the ferry with my parents and brother and walking up through Saltash in 1950!
Long queues of cars either side of the river waiting to cross. Mother’s story of Gerald making cups of tea on the trip across. Watching my Mother and Father make the final trip over and returning via the road bridge.
From Ernesettle, Plymouth. I took my 2 little boys down to the ferry, and we would spend many an hour watching the cars coming off and going on the ferry. They loved to do this also we used the ferry from Plymouth side.
I was born in Saltash Passage (1947). I remember playing on the ‘spare’ ferry which was kept on the blocks next to the slip. My most vivid memory was being outside the Ferry House Inn aged 6-7 years. A man rushed out of the pub. Ran and jumped onto the ferry. He didn’t want to miss it. Sadly the ferry was coming - NOT going out! Everyone cheered!
At the age of five I remember trips on the ferry in the 1950s. The smell of oil and hot coal as I looked into the engine room; the clank of the chain disappearing into the depths of the Tamar; eating a plate of winkles while waiting for the ferry. As a 13 year old scout, the opening of the Tamar Bridge.
In 1956/57 there was a whooping cough epidemic and the Doctor told my mother that sea air would aid my recuperation. As most people did not have their own transport at that time, my mother decided that the next best thing would be trips on the top deck of the ferry. So we travelled back and forth, sometimes disembarking at St Budeaux for an ice cream at the little shop to the north of the slipway. On a late evening in September 1957, my mother was taken seriously ill and had to be rushed to Freedom Fields Hospital, Plymouth. The ferry had almost reached the opposite shore but the ambulance men decided that they could not wait for it to unload and return, so it was recalled by the ringing of the ambulance bell and by the horn. At least two cars had to get off to allow the ambulance on. Despite being seriously ill, my mother’s main concern was for the drivers who so nearly had reached their destination but were brought back and delayed.