Category Archives: Our Voice

Queen’s Barge Master Enthuses About Thames And His River Career

Chris Livett is a board member of the Thames Festival, the Queen’s Barge Master and Managing Director of Livett’s Group.  Below are a couple of snippets from an interview with him on the festival’s website where his enthusiasm for the river shines through.


“Why do you think river culture and creativity is important?

For me I think the river is part of your spirit, water is part of the spirit. Often the river is seen as a boundary between north and south or communities across London. I see it not as a boundary but as an artery that runs through the city. It can promote culture, open people’s minds, and this culture can get people to understand what the river is doing there, it can really feed into the creative juices of people and get them to think outside the box. It’s a great educator. It can show how important the Thames is to London, show what a marvellous open space it is. All of that is about human beings and relationships and communication – and it’s a great platform to use to get those things right.


How would you describe the River Thames?

Wow, how long have you got? For me it’s my life, for London it’s a life blood, without it London wouldn’t be London. For Londoners it’s a very, very precious asset that we should all relish, support and enjoy. It is London’s biggest open space, it is London’s colour.  It is London’s vibrancy. It means so much to people who have worked on it, who have lived on it, who still live on it, who have sailed from it, sail into it, left England, come back from other parts of the world. It’s so dynamic, so versatile, ever changing – it’s raw Mother Nature.”


For the full article, click here.


External Sources

Thames Festival Trust website

Interview with Chris Livett




The taste of Christmas.. is it damaging our planet?

Writing in her blog, Seren Nelson – Corporate Partnerships Officer at Thames21, asks whether the taste of Christmas is damaging our planet.

She loves an egg-nog latte as much as the next person, but her distaste is with the decorative cups the drinks are served in. Single-use plastic cups that is!


Read Seren’s blog on the need to switch to reusable cups



External Sources:

Thames21 website

Seren’s blog

From Source to Sea – Book Review

Notes from a 215-Mile Walk Along the River Thames, by Tom Chesshyre.

From Source to Sea is a rather lovely idea. A sort of achievable adventure book, which follows the length of the Thames whilst discussing various points of interest along the way. Tom Chesshyre’s love of the river is wonderful to hear. He prepared for the journey not only with Thames literature in his backpack, but also with a step tracking device.


In the book Chesshyre brings to life the character of the river as an endless source of interest to him, visiting the old haunts of kings, beloved authors and various celebrities, whilst referencing a vast variety of literary classics.

Performing a pilgrimage of sorts to the writer’s favourite spots, places where ideas for books were conceived, and where authors lived, he also provides amazing historical information, from small acts to momentous events, alongside details of almost every meal, pint, and lime soda he consumed along the journey.  


Chesshyre, however, does not seem particularly taken with any changes to the Thames and is particularly scathing of almost all the people he comes across. In spite of this, the book really does bring the Thames alive, inspiring an incredible sense of awe and respect for the river. This book could have been fantastic, if Tom had stuck to what he likes – the Thames – and away from what he doesn’t like – people.

Trinity Buoy Works

Taking shape in Orchard Wharf is the new 600 ton pontoon for Trinity Buoy Wharf pier.


Established as a Thames-side workshop in 1803, Trinity Buoy Wharf continued through the 20th century to be responsible for supplying and maintaining navigation buoys and lightships between Southwold in Suffolk and Dungeness in Kent.

It was finally closed in 1988 and in 1998 Urban Space Management became leaseholders.

Described on their website as “Docklands most exciting arts quarter” it is home to numerous Container City Buildings.



External Sources

Trinity Buoy Wharf website


Enclosed Marine Spaces, The Silent Killer

Captain Michael Lloyd, a Marine Consultant for MRS Training and Rescue, describes enclosed spaces on board ship as one of the greatest safety issues  and makes a compelling case for training.


The Problem

Ships are constructed from a series of boxes of differing shapes, most of which are designed to be waterproof which generally means air proof as well.  Once these spaces are enclosed any oxygen deteriorates because of a number of factors, for example fumes given off from paint, leaks from pipes passing through the space and even the steel from which the space is constructed using oxygen as rust develops.


Ships carry a host of information on safety in enclosed spaces but seafarers are still dying because a key element is missing – training. Currently there is no legislation requiring enclosed space entry training, or just as importantly, enclosed space rescue, despite the fact that more people die in enclosed space accidents than in fire-related accidents.


It is not only those on board who are at risk but also those coming onto the ship in port, especially stevedores and surveyors. In too many cases they assume that those on board have some training, and therefore knowledge of enclosed spaces, and have taken the required precautions for the spaces being entered. They assume that, should something go wrong, the ship has the appropriate equipment to rescue them.


In the majority of cases, this would be wrong. Apart from having little knowledge of enclosed spaces, there are few ships with enclosed space rescue equipment and even fewer with any form of training in the use of such equipment. Even something like a resuscitator, which is essential in sustaining life in any rescue attempt from an enclosed space, is rare on board ships.


The case for Training

The MRS Training and Rescue organisation, formally known as the Mines Rescue Service, is the only company that has specialised in marine enclosed space rescue.

Over the last ten years they have boarded a wide variety of ships in port, at sea and in dry docks, translating their mining enclosed space techniques, gained over 100 years, into marine rescue.

This has now resulted in them joining with Fire Aid, a specialist Marine Fire training company to form the Solent Marine Training Academy, the first of its kind in the UK.  Based in Hythe, Southampton, trainees can experience enclosed space training in the hull of an oceangoing vessel with trainers who have performed real rescues.



As there is no legislated requirement for such training, it falls to ship owners and managers to recognise that fatalities can be prevented and that formal training is the only way forward.


Save Our Seas From Plastic Pollution – Petition

Patrick Howie, who swims throughout the year in Dorset, is concerned about plastic in the sea and has started a Government petition.

The petition has gone live and calls for a national awareness day against plastic in the sea. Patrick needs 100,000 signatures by April 2018 for the government to consider debating the issue.

Click here to see the petition.


External Sources

Petition Website





The History of the Port of London – New Book

This recently published book tells the story of the port from its inception.  It illustrates the importance of the river and the port to the prosperity of the City of London and the wider country.
The author Peter Stone was born and lives in London.  His family has had a long association with the East End and he created the website
Click here for more details on the book.

Vote by November 21 for Boat Trip for Disadvantaged Kids

Thames Estuary Partnership (TEP) wants your votes to get funding for this initiative from the Aviva Community Fund. 

TEP plans to take disadvantaged residents who live on the banks of the Thames on a boat trip to explain the river and its wonders. This is not your ordinary boat trip. We take residents, usually children and their parents or play workers, out into the estuary to tell them about the wildlife and structures which protect their homes from flooding.


To find out more about this project and to vote click here.  Please vote by midday November 21.


Results for Thames Fishery Research Experiment

Results and prize winners for this City of London competition which has been running for 45 years.



Total catch: 95 fish consisting of 6 species as follows:

1 Dab

1 Eel

2 Sole

9 Flounder

14 Bass

68 Whiting


THE LADY HOWARD TROPHY was presented to the team which gained the highest number of points in the Adult Competition.

In 3rd place with 90 points was the PLA Angling Team

In 2nd place with 105 points was the Kent Angling Team

In 1st place with 195 points were the Essex County Anglers with a catch consisting of:

6 Bass

5 Flounder

16 Whiting


THE SCHOOLS TROPHY, which is supported by the PLA, was presented to the School Team with the highest number of points.

In 2nd place with 15 points was Gravesend Grammar School

In 1st place with 20 points was the City of London School for Girls with a catch consisting of:

1 Flounder

3 Whiting



The Adult Angler with the highest score was Barry Cowell of Essex County Anglers with 65 points



The School Team member with the highest score was a tie between Isabelle Newman of the City of London School for Girls and Sam Hiskett of Gravesend Grammar School with 15 points each.


THE BIODIVERSITY AWARD is donated by the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators for the catch which most demonstrates the continuing healthiness and improvement of the River Thames. The judges chose this year’s winning catch to be that of Graham Bolton of Essex County Anglers (1 Bass, 3 Flounder, and 3 Whiting).


THE FISHMONGERS’ CUP is awarded to the person judged to have caught the largest or best single fish. The best single fish was judged to have been a 45cm Bass caught by Simon Clarke of the PLA Angling Team.


Jon Averns Becomes a Waterman

Congratulations to Jon Averns, the Port Health & Public Protection Director (City of London) and TEP member,  who has been made a Freeman of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen. 

To find out more about the Company of Watermen and Lightermen click here.