“The Water’s Edge” exhibition at Open Eye has caused quite a stir with some of the former dock workers. I reprint their mails below, they are very unhappy at seeing pictures of people they describe as ‘scabs’ alongside pictures of women who supported them during the 95/98 dispute.
My own opinion for what its worth and bearing in mind I haven’t seen the exhibition yet is that if some of those pictured did not actually work on the docks then that is indeed poor research, though it may not be an easy thing to check.
But on the other issue, I’m not so sure. Obviously its upsetting for the sacked dockers to see pictures of people who crossed the picket line but this is an exhibition of pictures of women who worked on the waterfront. Its not about their politics, I prefer to see them all rather than a select few who share a certain view.
From Michael Kilcullen
“My question is about the exhibition that is on at the moment in the open eye “the waters edge”
This exhibition is supposed to mark the 800th anniversary of the founding of the city of Liverpool .The story and photos are about fifty women who have worked on the waterfront since 1939, painters dockers merchant navy in fact anything to do with the waterfront .
I went to the open eye and I was appalled at what I was looking at , on one of the photos was a woman called Carol Chadderton standing there like Kate Winslett was on the front of the Titanic, declaring that she is proud to be a docker, and on another was Sandra King who declared that she is a carrier driver in Seaforth dock.
My reason for being appalled is that I was a proud Liverpool docker and I worked on the docks for 28 years, in 1995/98 I was involved in the long running docks dispute and spent 850 days on the picket line during this Carol Cadderton and Sandra king who both had no connection with the docks except that Sandra king was married to a scab docker,they both crossed our picket line on a daily basis so that they could claim the jobs of the men that were locked out.
It further saddens me that photos of the real “Women of the Waterfront” women who supported their husbands during the dispute are put up in the same room.
Did Joanne Lacy do her research correctly because if she did surely its not right to portray these to woman as some modern day hero s they are Scabs
500 Liverpool dockers and their families would say they are SCABS, and when your story is researched in another 800 years and the people of Liverpool discover what these to women were. how do you think they will react”
and from Billy Johnson
“I read the liverpool echoes article about the waters edge at the openeye gallery. I was disgusted to read about a woman who went through our picket-line during the docks dispute, saying how proud she was to be docker. so on Tuesday I went to visit the exhibition on arrival I expressed my feeling to a mr patrick henry who tried to explain that it was just about women and not political. Partick asked me to e-mail my complaints so while he went for a address card I had a look around but to my disgust I came across a picture of Sandra King who along with her husband tony and some family crossed our picket-line. so on one wall we have a picture of a scab , the next wall two wows who stood and fought alongside their men and on the other wall a wife who scabbed it with her husband. As I said to Patrick I feel sure that if the other ladies would have known that these two were going to be in it they would have refused to take part. Billy Johnson Proud sacked docker ”