Interview 12 - Giles and Geri Shearing

Giles and Geri Shearing, residents of a converted Salters steamboat on the Thames (Isis) on Port Meadow

Interviewer: Pete Ledwith
Editor: Charlie Henry
Total recording time: 33 min : 13 sec

Access available in Oxfordshire History Centre and Libraries only

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Track Content summary Length
12 They met each other whilst living on boats on the Oxford Canal. Giles began on Acapaularan, a boat originally built as a horse drawn boat. There are boats in Giles’s blood as his uncle John and grandfather were involved in boats in Great Yarmouth and the Norfolk Broads.

Geri was involved in action over Agenda 21 which eventually led to the establishment of permanent residential moorings along some stretches of the canal in Oxford. They brought up 2 children on boats (first the Rye an old horse drawn working boat – a butty) and then moved from the canal to the Thames, where in Summer their boat becomes a youth club.

They have good memories of canal festivals and giving puppet shows on board their boat. Music is a very big part of boating community life. The couple play in a band – the Gees – that emerged from weekly percussions and drumming sessions that brought together boaters.

Although Geri acknowledges some of the physical challenges of living on a boat, it is described as a ‘long thin shared house’.

The couple have rich memories of community events including a Christmas dinner on The Rye which was an open plan boat. Forty people cooked and came together on long tables to share a meal.
33 min : 13 sec