End of an era...

It’s the end of an era for lock keepers all along the rural River Thames who are hanging up their old uniforms as part of a new look that some have described as ‘catalogue workwear’.

The current uniform, which has changed little over the last 100 years, is close to the heart for many lock keepers who have worn it all of their working lives on the river. To mark its passing the river’s 45 resident lock keepers have arranged to don their uniforms in full for the last time over the weekend of April 28 – 29.

Lock Keeper Steve Newman, who has worked at Shepperton Lock for 23 years, said: “Most of us feel quite sentimental about waving goodbye to our old uniforms. Many lock keepers have worked on the River Thames for over 20 years and have fond memories of wearing the formal tunic and cap for special occasions like royal visits.

“These days we rarely wear the uniform in full but for the last weekend in April we’ve all decided to turn out in our tunic, waistcoat and cap for the last time. We hope boaters will be out in force to join us in wishing a fond farewell to the uniform!”

The traditional uniform is rarely worn in full now except for special occasions and is expensive. An old uniform will be donated to the River and Rowing Museum in Henley.