Greenwich as it used to be:

Indenture of apprenticeship as a Thames Waterman [1814]

Young Henry left the Navy after serving for four years in 1814, at the age of sixteen. His father then apprenticed him as a Waterman and Lighterman on the River Thames--the year the Thames froze over.


I still have his original Indentures, and quote from them as follows:

"THIS INDENTURE Witnesseth, That Henry Gearing, Son of Henry Gearing, of the Parish of St. Alphage, Greenwich, in the County of Kent, doth put himself, Apprentice to Thomas Starkey, of the Parish aforesaid. In the County aforesaid. WATERMAN AND LIGHTERMAN."

"To learn his art, and with him after the manner of an Apprentice to dwell and serve upon the River Thames, from the day of the date here-of, until the full end and term of Seven Years from thence next following, to be fully complete and ended, during which term, the said apprentice his said
Master faithfully shall serve. His secrets keep, his lawful commandments everywhere gladly do. He shall do no Damage to his said Master, nor see it be done by others, but he in his Power, shall let or forthwith give warning to his said Master of the same; He shall not waste the Goods of the said Master, nor lend them unlawfully to any. He shall not commit Fornication, nor contract Matrimony within the said Term. He shall not play Cards, Dice, Tables or any unlawful games, whereby his said Master may have any loss. With his own Goods or others during the said Term, without licence of his said Master, he shall not buy nor sell; He shall not haunt Taverns or Playhouses, nor absent himself from his Masters service Day or Night, unlawfully, but in all things as a faithful Apprentice he shall behave himself towards his said master, during the said Term. And the said Master in consideration of Services of his said apprentice in the same art which he useth by the best means that he can, shall teach and instruct or cause to be taught and instructed, finding unto the said Apprentice Meat, Drink, Apparel, Lodging and all other Necessaries, according to the custom of the City of London.
In witness whereof, the parties above named to these indentures, have put their hands and seals. The Twenty Fourth Day of October 1814. Signed and sealed in the presence of: Henry Gearing and Thomas Starkey.'

© Albert W. Gearing

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