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20 February 2010

Peer at the Deal Porters Sculpture

The deal porters were the labourers in the London's docks who handled imports of softwood timber from North America, also known as "deal".

The wood was placed in piles up to 60 feet high in quayside warehouses for storage. As you might imagine, therefore, the handlers needed tremendous physical strength, total cooperation and a head for heights. The trade was very dangerous, and the porters even wore a special leather headgear and "apron" over their shoulders in order to protect their heads and necks from wooden splinters.

The deal porters are commemorated with a statue beside Canada Water, as a nod to the deal industry which characterised Canada Dock until the 1970s, and the sculpture itself was originally made in softwood before being cast in bronze.

They sculpture was created by sculptors Philip Bews and Diane Gorvin. For more background on the deal porters, see here

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