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Signs from the past

A digital video project
Childhood
Going to work
Free time
The changing docklands
The British Deaf History Society
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Childhood

Children of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.
View full size imageChildren of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe. © NMM

Growing up in Docklands in the first half of the 20th century was an adventure! Children were part of a close-knit community.

 

 

 

 

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I used to live in Lower Road. It was always busy there because it was right next to the docks.

I loved being part of a docker's family. The same crowds went

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to weddings, Christmas and other parties. It was difficult to see who was family or not.

Video File Tower bridge beach
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Even if money was short, there was plenty to do. A day at Tower Bridge beach was a regular family treat…

 

 

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The dockers' wives used to bring their children to the beach, but then we
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found out how polluted it was.
Tower of London with Tower Bridge to the right.
View full size imageTower of London with Tower Bridge to the right. © NMM

Swing Bridge over King George V Dock.
View full size imageSwing Bridge over King George V Dock. © NMM

Video File The swing bridge
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One popular game was to race to the swing bridge to watch boats come in to dock…

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We were fascinated just to see the bridge open and close. I used to grab my little
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brother and run from our house to wave.

Video File The Light Men
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Many children would climb the dock fences to pinch fruit from the ships…

 

 

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There were the 'Light Men' who watched the ships to make sure no-one stole
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anything from them, but we still used to do it!
Loading under Arc Light.
View full size imageLoading under Arc Light. © NMM

 

 

A digital video project
Childhood
Going to work
Free time
The changing docklands
The British Deaf History Society
Need help with the video?
*
Send this story to a friend Send this story to a friend
Printer-friendly version Printer-friendly version
View this story in pictures View this story in pictures

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Find out more
StoriesThe 20th-century port
The changing fortunes of Docklands and the port
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GalleriesVideoThe 20th century port video gallery
From 1914 to the present day
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Glossary
Dock
Docker

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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory Greenwich New Opportunities Fund  
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