Pink Ribbon

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Thames Festival

Shot with Olympus E520
As I mentioned, this last weekend was the Thames Festival, two days of fun and good times for all on the banks of the Thames. I could have chosen any number of pictures of people enjoying themselves, instead I chose this. You could be forgiven for thinking it is just a poor photo of the Millennium Bridge, but it is actually about what I learnt on Sunday.

I'd never realised that the name "lightermen" came from the fact that these were the people that made ships lighter - they ferried cargo from the ship to wharves without it having to pass through the (expensive) docks. Moreover, they and the Watermen (Watermen carry passengers, Lightermen carry goods) are the only remaining trade where, to this day, you have to serve a five year apprenticeship, harking back to an unbroken tradition of nearly 500 years.

Unpowered, they travel on the tides, steered by men with oars. As part of the fun on Sunday, they held races such as in this scene, where the RMT barge in the lead.

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posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

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Name: Ham Location: London, United Kingdom View my complete profile