John Smith grew up in Stratford and formerly worked at Bow Power Station.


Listen to an interview with John.

You can also read excerpts from the interview below.

About this painting

Oil on canvas, 65x50cm, 2007


From the interview

On a boys' adventure to Stratford

A great big galvanised tank had been thrown into the river, right opposite the old Great Eastern Railway Station. One day, we turned it over and realised we could float it. One by one we got into it - 6 of us kids.

There was a culvert underneath Stratford Station - nobody was daring to go in there but we got braver and decided to go in. We hit a bend in the river and then we all decided to go back but as we were trying to get out, the tide was coming in.

We were pushing ourselves against the tunnel as the tank got near the top of the culvert. In the end we decided that there was only one thing for it - we were all going to drown so we might as well try and get out the other side. We got 100 yards and one of the boys saw some steps. We all climbed up and tried to push open the manhole cover (at the top). When we came out into daylight we were in the middle of the railway tracks at Stratford Station!