Carrying in ’50s London

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Spring 2020

Another delve into Julian Thompson’s photo archive reveals details of boat and barge traffic in and around the capital in the 1950s

Taken on 30th April 1955, this view splendidly evokes the working environment of the Regent’s Canal at Hampstead Road Locks, Camden. The post-war shabbiness and litter of light industry on its canalsides were quite typical of the time. The main focus is the iron barge Lyd being hauled and shafted into the lock. This craft was owned by Vokins & Co Ltd, general lightermen of Blackwall. The business was started in the late-1850s by lighterman William Vokins and became a limited company in 1886. The company continued in trade until May 1973 when it was taken over by the Thames & General Lighterage Ltd. Lyd’s history dates back to 1886 when it was called Orlando and owned by lighterman John Henry Saunders of Strand-on-the-Green, Chiswick, who used it mainly to carry grain. It was sold to Walter Graham & Co, seed crushers and oil cake manufacturers of Headby Oil Mills, Greenwich, and renamed Insight in 1893. During that same decade it passed to Vo …

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