Oral History: Bob Prentice
It was in my family, my grandfather, my great grandfather was all lighterman. Up and down the river, you would get, if you like to call it ‘the River Smell’, and the reason being was because you get the high and the low water… It’s history isn’t it? Things have to change, some things change, change for the good. Lots of things change for the good.
Bob Prentice knows the river as good as anyone, having worked as a lighterman and waterman since the age of 16 following in the footsteps of his family. Bob has spent his entire career working along the River Thames in different ways, including a lot of time spent transporting various cargo from cars to timber to wharves along Barking Creek in the 1980s and 90s.
Bob shares a unique perspective of Barking’s industrial history from the riverside; the dangers of the river and fog, the scents across the seasons and the locations he has experienced. He also talks about working as a docker and strikes in the 1970s. Plus hear about dapper lightermen fashions.