Deal Porters, Rotherhithe, c. 1910


Deal porters were the characteristic workers in the Surrey Commercial Docks.

Their task was moving lengths of timber from ship to large barge to warehouse, or warehouse to cart or lorry.

This they did balancing the planks on their shoulders, which was protected by a leather patch.

Softwood from the Scandanavian countries and grain mainly from Canada were the Surrey Commercial Docks' main trade.

The work was both skilled and dangerous, and they were given the nickname 'Blondins' after the celebrated tight-rope walker.

See historic maps of Rotherhithe