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A Thames Carrier at Staines

Time and Place: NarrowBoat, Summer 2020

Christopher M Jones

Lorna York

Chris M. Jones and Lorna York reveal the background to two images of the River Thames at Staines, showing various craft owned by Elizabeth Timmins and giving a rare glimpse into the operation of a female carrier in the 1880s

The Timmins The family story dates back to the first half of the 19th century to boatman William Timmins Senior of Tipton. After marrying his wife Ann in 1827, he moved from Sedgley to Tipton where he became an ownerboatman by 1854, probably in the substantial iron traffic between Staffordshire and London. William and Ann had six children including William Junior and John, both of whom became boatmen in time. John Cooksey, also one of William Senior’s steerers, was from another large Staffordshire boating family. John married William Senior’s daughter, Hannah, in November 1851 at Dudley. Some time in the early 1860s the Timmins family moved to the Basingstoke Canal where they continued as bargemen based at Ash. William Senior died there in 1865. John and Hannah Cooksey and their son William also moved onto the Basingstoke at Ash, working as bargemen for the Timmins family. Earlier, brothers John and William Timmins Junior also married: John (born in 1836) to Lindsay n&ea…

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