Homage to a Working Man – Granddad on The Havengore
In 1965 a state funeral was held for Winston Churchill, and his coffin was taken along the Thames on the vessel SS Havengore.The Port of London Authority owned this vessel at the time, and my grandfather and his crew took it upriver to hand over to the Royal Navy for the procession.On the way my grandfather lay down on the platform which had been specially fitted for Churchill’s coffin. He crossed his arms in front of his chest, and another of the crew took a photo. My granddad always kept this photo in his wallet.
As the Royal Navy went along the river “…the most memorable and unexpected moment of the stately ceremonies that marked the end of the Churchillian era then occurred, making the hairs bristle on the napes of the necks of those present. All the cranes on Hay’s wharf on the opposite bank started dipping their long necks, like dinosaurs bowing, in an eerie, unforgettable civilian salute” (Philip Howard, London’s River 1975)
In my imagined version of events, the cranes are bowing to my grandfather, representing the working man from a lost time in the river’s industrial past.
Granddad on the Havengore I & II (2016) acrylic, pencil, ink, photo transfer on paper.
Homage to a Working Man (2014) Ink, graphite, pen, photo transfer on paper.