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22.01.2015

Half a century! Port of London Authority man celebrates 50 years' service

  • Haven Master John Window has been working on the Thames for 50 years

  • His two sons also work for the Port of London Authority

  • Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Boat Pageant is John’s finest memory

Trevor Window (left); John Window (centre);
Gary Window (right)
A loyal granddad who continued a family tradition of putting ‘Windows’ on the Thames is celebrating 50 years’ work on the river.
John Window, 66, joined the Port of London Authority (PLA) as a messenger boy in Christmas 1964, then moved through the ranks to his current role as a haven master on Canvey Island. His two sons Gary, 34, and Trevor, 37, followed in their father’s wake and joined the PLA where they work as VTS officer and marine river inspector respectively.

Leigh-on-Sea resident John, who’s had several different positions within the Authority, including coxswain and deckhand, thinks he’s simply been lucky to do a job that lets him do what he loves.

He said: “For as long as I remember I’ve wanted to be a freeman of the Thames, just like my dad. I became a PLA messenger boy when I was 15 and three quarters. I’d cart post to various places up and down the river. All the time I just wished I could get out onto the boats. A job came up and I went for it.”

John’s best memories of working on the Thames include being a deckhand on a boat that led the Tall Ships procession in the 1980s and helping the huge effort that went into making the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee boat pageant such a success in 2012.

“Everyone in the PLA got out that day”, he said. “Everyone got wet. I’ll never forget it for as long as I live. On days like that the river just comes alive.

He added: “I’ve never got bored in 50 years of working for the PLA. And if I’ve got itchy feet I’ve just moved on to a different challenge and freshened things up.”

John, who also has three grandchildren, says his sons couldn’t be dissuaded from following in his footsteps, especially after he’d taken them to various events on the river down the years, such as the Southend Air Show.

“It’s a bit of a tradition really”, he admits. “My great great grandfather started it many years ago when he worked on the Thames driving colliers. It’s fair to say there’ve been Windows on the Thames ever since.”

PLA Chief Executive Robin Mortimer said: “We are proud that John has been with us for 50 years. He has set a fine example, both in terms of service and doing a great job.”

Editors’ notes

  1. The PLA oversees navigational, safety and related matters on 95 miles of the tidal Thames from west London through the capital, and out to the Thames Estuary and the sea.
  2. Caption: Trevor Window (left); John Window (centre); Gary Window (right)

For further information please contact:

Gareth Dorrian, Port of London Authority. Tel: 01474-562251. Email: gareth.dorrian@pla.co.uk