Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Estuary and Stevedores

I went to the Estuary exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands, featuring the 'work of 12 artists who have been inspired by the outer limits of the Thames where the river becomes the sea' with its 'dramatic landscape – desolate mudflats and saltmarshes, vast open skies, container ports, power stations and seaside resorts'. It's on until 31st October, and is well worth a visit (admission free). I particularly liked Jock McFadyen's Dagenham (below).

In the permanent collection I also noticed a trade union banner from the London docks, specifically from Branch No.6 (Rotherhithe) of the Amalgamated Stevedores Labour Protection League. According to the Museum: 'This banner was created to commemorate the founding of the trade union following the Great Dock Strike of 1889. The large painted panel depicts a London stevedore shaking hands with an Australian 'Wharfie' or dock worker, in front of the figure of Britannia. The image recalls the financial support given to the London strikers by their comrades in Australia during the strike itself'. The banner was made made by George Tutill in the early 20th century. 

Incidentally the word stevedore derives from the Iberian words ofestivador (Portuguese) or estibador (Spanish), meaning a man who stuffs, in the sense here of a man who loads ships

No comments: