An Oral History of the Thames Lightermen
The profession has employed generations of Londoners with the lightermen carrying cargo and the watermen carrying passengers. For hundreds of years generations of families and communities have worked on the river with a rich history of apprenticeships, work and family life and culture developing around it.
Whilst the trade for watermen dwindled with the construction of bridges, the lightermen continued to grow with London's trade up until the 1960s when containerisation and then the closure of London's dockyards led to a decline in the trade.
Today far fewer people work on the Thames but for those who do, or who have retired in the past 30-40 years, there remain vivid memories and important stories to tell. This film aims to share some of these.