Inside the ball

These amazing photos are of Gary Kelly, Keith Clark and Kevin (Shagger) Fry working inside the Silver Ball in 1984.  Here you can clearly see the internal tank and the anodes that hung in the ball at different heights.  These carried a minimal electric charge and were designed so that rust would attack them rather than the steel ball.  

Gary Kelly says "it was hot as Hades in there.  We used to drag a 25ft extension ladder up the side of the ball and then drop it inside.  After the water had been drained out, we cleaned the inside down with a mop and straw broom to get the dirt and sludge off before we painted the rust spots.  We used to drag a hose up and when the gravelly sandy grit was cleaned off and sitting in the bottom of the ball, we'd hose it out the outlet.  One day it blocked up and while we were trying to unblock it all this pressure built up and when it finally cleared it shot out into the middle of the road and we just missed this mum walking along with her kid in a pram!  

One day we were up there and this bloke who was with us had to have a pee and he did it out the outlet hole. One of the plumbers was standing right in the wrong spot under the ball and he yelled out - "hey turn off the hose will ya." We never had the heart to tell him what had really landed on his head!

We put a time capsule in the internal tank with the names of the last people working at the factory when it closed and some buttons and other stuff like that."

Trevor Walsh shared this story.  "Wally Ferguson used to change the anodes in the ball when required - a fairly messy job as there used to be half water, half mud in the ball when he did it.  One day he was up there when he heard a noise behind him.  He looked up and saw Ralph Jones in his business shirt and suit trousers coming down the ladder into the ball.  "What are you doing here?" said Wally.  "You're not going to have all the fun," said Ralph and he then proceeded to get as grubby as Wally!   

Trevor Walsh worked at FJs for just over 19 years.  Gary Kelly worked at FJs for over 30 years.   

 

Kevin Fry and Keith Clark working inside the ball in 1984. Photo: Gary Kelly
The internal tank and several of the electrified anodes inside the Silver Ball.  Photo: Gary Kelly
Gary Kelly washing down the inside of the Silver Ball.  The light is a reflection of sunlight from the manhole at the top of the ball.  Photo: Gary Kelly
Gary Kelly 'relaxing' in the bottom of the ball. He is standing beside the outlet which can be seen just to the left of his hip. To the left and right of him hang the anodes that were electrified and designed to attract rust.  The red cord carried the minimal electric charge.  Photo: Gary Kelly
Keith Clark and Kevin Fry amongst the anodes inside the ball. Photo: Gary Kelly
Kevin Fry AKA Shagger adding the date to graffiti in the ball!  Photo: Gary Kelly
The workers names recorded inside the ball!  Photo: Gary Kelly
Gary Kelly washing down the inside of the Silver Ball.  Here you can see more clearly the light from the manhole at the top of the ball reflecting on the inside of the ball.  Photo: Gary Kelly
Keith Clark appears to be reading on the job while Kevin Fry gives the thumbs up with paint brush in hand! One of the anodes hangs to his right. Photo: Gary Kelly
The view to the south east from the top of the Silver Ball in 1984. Photo: Gary Kelly
The view to the south west from the top of the Silver Ball in 1984.Photo: Gary Kelly
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