Members of Docklands' deaf community share their personal stories of a vanished world of ships, wharves, cranes and warehouses. They express pride in the traditions of port families and of being part of a unique industrial community…
|Peter reminisces in a workshop for the deaf community. © NMM |
Many of the memories are familiar:
Men used to finish work and head straight for the pub. They spent their hard-earned
wages on beer. To feed their children, the woman had to rely on scrap food. On leftovers.
We were allowed to play on the streets…bike riding and all sorts of games. One favourite was to climb over the swing bridge…but of course we
never let our mothers know!
|Children in Turnpin Lane, Greenwich Market. © NMM |
And today's sense of loss
When the docks closed down, everything went quiet. Slowly, it got more and more
quiet. Where was all that hustle and bustle I was used to?|
But these maritime memories go beyond the familiar.
|Members of the deaf community. © NMM |
The stories are from deaf people and are all told through the expressive medium of sign language.
They give access to the unique experiences that come from being a deaf person in a hearing world.
My grandfather and my uncle both worked on the docks…and my great grandfather…but I was deaf and they wouldn't allow me to work there. When I had to fill in a
union card, I had to state if I was hearing or deaf. So I failed that assessment. Because I was deaf.|