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Here's a bit of fun we 'found on the foreshore' obviously written by one who knows the story...


The Ballad of the Last Lightermen


Well we listened to your stories
Of your days in Greenland Dock
Of barges full of rough goods
When you've been on the job-and-knock


Of pockets full of money
Earned for sitting on a barge
And how you are a race apart
From people by and large


Of hours you've spent in cafes and pubs
Of Woodbines, tea and toast
Of turned up jeans and hobnailed boots
Form guide and winning post


Of the barmaids you've pulled
If only in a dream
Of nights spent on the mucking
When tugs run out of steam


But like the arrowsmiths and wheelwright
Yours is a dying trade
And each day you grow more bitter
As your numbers slowly fade


For The Port of London's dying
Though she's been a grand old girl
And Father Thames no longer
Holds the shipping of the world


They're filling in your docks
Knocking down your wharves and pubs
They're selling all your barges
And scrapping all your tugs


In their luxury apartments
That command a river view
As they sip their dry Martinis
Do they ever think of you?


What do they know of Greenhithe
Blackwall Point and Wapping Stairs
As they talk of liquidation
And watch their stocks and shares


But still you'll have the last laugh
As they're hellbound for their sin
It'll be so full of Lightermen
The buggers won't get in.

Purloined and distributed in the traditional Thames manner by Reg the Paint with sincere appreciation of the anonymous wordsmith who wrote it.

 

Thames Tales is our new section with the real stories of Thames working life click here

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