Fish merchant’s 60 years on the dock

Fish merchant Dave Andrew (74) with son Colin (48) at Fleetwood Docks.
Fish merchant Dave Andrew (74) with son Colin (48) at Fleetwood Docks.

At nine years old Dave Andrew was collecting pop bottles thrown away by passengers coming off the Isle of Man Steam Boat. Now, he’s celebrating his sixth decade working on the docks.

Back then,he used an old pram to take glass bottles back to a drinks distributor on Sidings Road, for a penny a bottle.

Nearly 65 years later, Dave is one of the most well respected members of Fleetwood’s fishing industry.

With his son Colin, he runs D Andrew and Son fish merchants.

He is semi-retired now and has cut back on the 4am starts but the 74-year-old still plays a vital role and says he probably won’t ever stop.

“I’m passionate about it, I just love the place and I will hate the day if I have to give it up.

“I’ve always had that drive inside me.

“I’m from a very, very poor background and from an early age I disciplined myself to succeed and I’ve worked really hard to do that.

“In those days the docks was a thriving port, Fleetwood lived off it, everyone worked there.

“You could easily walk across the trawlers from one side of the dock to another – I think there are just two Fleetwood trawlers left now.

“The decommissioning of vessels and the Cod War saw off the industry, but we adapted and we survived it.”

Born in Salford in 1939, Dave was evacuated to Fleetwood during the war.

He lived in Walmsley Street for a year and then at an orphanage until his family of six siblings were reunited with their mother when peacetime returned.

He added: “My father was killed in the war and we had nothing. We lived wherever we could until we finally settled in Albert Street.

“As well as collecting pop bottles I used the pram for other jobs. I collected and delivered coal.”

“I’ve always worked.”

Dave, who now lives on Broadway with Ann, his wife of 51 years, was just 14 when he started work on the docks learning the techniques to fillet fish.

Read Dave’s memories in our nostalgia page on April 17.