Hurley Marine Ltd.
A brief History David Reeves Hurley Marine Gallery Mr Dockrell - a reminiscence An Apprenticeship - by Colin Curtis
In December 2019 the Committee received the following email and pictures from Malcolm Cleave and we thank him for his contribution.
it might be of interest to some of your members, if they
don’t know, that George Hurley grew up in Charlestown,
Cornwall. He was one of five children, Edna,who ran the
post office was eldest. Next was Mona, then Alphonso
George, then Bill who married Doris, and finally Dorothy
the youngest. Mona said their father was called Alphonso
Legoria and he was was torpedoed and killed in the Great
War on 31st March 1917, when George was seven Alphonso was
a master mariner who originated from Newfoundland.. The
family home was first 24 Quay road and then 23 Quay road,
currently known as Carole’s Cottage and Mona’s Cottage,
respectively. We own both of them and knew Mona, his
spinster sister, really well. We also knew Dorothy his
sister who was married to Fred who worked for George in an
administrative capacity. They lived in Stoke, Plymouth.
Mona lived at no.24 until she was 8, and then at no.23 for
the rest of her life. She was very proud of George. Mona
died in 2003 as a result of breaking her hip tripping over
one of the ropes on Charlestown Quay, whilst watching a
gig being launched. She was 93. Your members might know
all of this already but if not then I thought it might be
of interest to some. Photo
One shows nos.24 and 23. "4 has the two left hand
windows. The entrance to 24 is on the side. The second
picture shows no.23 including the unrestored net
store which George used as a workshop"
this, Tim Sharman did further research and came across the
following links which provide an insight into the sinking of
the vessel. https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?176947
The history of Hurley Marine has been summarised in a book published by HOA entitled 'A History of Hurley Marine', by Tim Sharman and Nick Vass. To obtain a copy go to the Merchandise page. In summary:
George Hurley was a carpenter and shipwright. He worked in Plymouth dockyard during the war and then in 1946 set up his own business. Working from a shed in his back yard in Keyham, Plymouth, he started A.G Hurley Ltd (Carpenter and Commercial Vehicle Body Builders), with two employees - Reg Yates and Ernie Miners - and himself and his wife Marion as Directors.
In 1952 the business expanded into new premises in Richmond Walk, Stonehouse. From there in 1958 he began to build the famous Silhouette cruisers and started on the path to become Hurley Marine. In 1964 additional Directors joined the firm, bringing with them extra capital, with which to fund a new purpose-built factory in Valley Road, Plympton. By then fibre glass was well recognised as being the future of boat building and, with Ian Anderson's excellent designs and the Lloyds Series Production Certificates for each class, the business moved into top gear. At its peak Hurley Marine employed some 140 people and Valley Road was turning out vsome 17 fully completed and certificated boats per week.
Hurley retired at the end of 1967 and the business went
forward with a new Board, Chaired by Charles Woodrow. The
Company continued until 1974 when it succumbed to the
appalling industrial and financial conditions then common in
the UK. However, the moulds found new homes and Hurley boats
continued to be built by a variety of firms until 1991.
This reminiscence is from Joe Clarke, one of our American members, who has been corresponding with Nick Vass.
Mr. Dockrell was exactly like a miniature Alistair Cooke, the famous British actor. The voice was absolutely the same. Seeing Alistair Cooke hosting some shows on American T V we all immediately said " Mr. Dockrell!". I first met him in 1972 in New Jersey, driving a tractor surrounded by a few Hurleys he had just imported. He had the product (the boats) and knew it, because he knew these little seaworthy boats would sell themselves, even 35 miles away from the water in a New Jersey marsh! He was clearing a piece of land to put in a trailer home park he was building off Route 46 in Parsippanny, New Jersey. He was, I believe in his 70's or early 80's, dressed in English tweeds and a bow tie ( I never saw him any other way). I asked my father why was he in such formal attire with a bow tie, never thinking the question would be posed to Mr. Dockrell by my father. In a very gentle fashion, as he was a very gentle person in my estimation, he turned to me with those kind "never missing a thing blue eyes" and said that he worked in the factories as a young man and always wore the bow tie to avoid the machinery from catching a long tie and having a horrible accident. He never forgot me nor, do I suspect, anyone he came into contact with. Even meeting him a few years later, as he worked the New York boat show, he instantly recalled me and the 24 my father had bought. He always tried to upgrade us to the 27 but I guess it was out of our means.