The extraordinary life and loves of John Oliver, Rochester Library, 9 Oct

John Oliver on the tug Hobbit.

An illustrated talk by Frances Beaumont about John Oliver who was a tug man on ‘Hobbit’ on the River Medway for 40 years. John was born without hands and two short arms and became very adept with his feet. Many people in Medway knew him – he was quite a character. He was also a trained artist with an NDD and had many other jobs. Booking is essential for this free event at Rochester Library, Eastgate, Rochester ME1 1EW on Wednesday 9 October from 2.30 to 4 pm. To book call 01634 337799.

One thought on “The extraordinary life and loves of John Oliver, Rochester Library, 9 Oct

  1. John Oliver and his little tug was used by my father on a number of occasions to ‘pluck’ the sailing barge May Flower home or out any ‘bother’.
    The last time was on a tow from Twinney Dock to Callows Wharf towards the upper end of Milfordhope Creek. (The May Flower has long gone, but a house barge ‘Mayflower’ continues to use the site). Twinney Dock was resurrected by the Ardley and Young families. The Young’s had the Henry.
    The most ‘memorable time – told about in my book, ‘The May Flower A Barging Childhood’ was on a move from Whitewall Creek to Twinney…
    In summer of 1966 we lost the wind coming round St Mary’s Point opposite the Medway YC … the tide took us gently alongside two pristine white yachts. A part from fender tire marks with no damage. John Oliver later plucked us off. The mooring must have been a good one!
    John and his tug stayed in Twinney Dock the following evening after providing the motive power to berth … later over tea I remember being amazed as he rolled a ‘fag’ and drank his tea with his dexterous feet.
    My mother kept in touch with John and saw him a short while before he passed away – a sad loss to the river.
    The following morning, I and another helped him remove an injector and bleed the tug’s fuel system through.
    I often think of him when sailing on the river..
    He was an amazing man…

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