1000 Londoners

James in is and is Boat Restorer.

Spending 28 years restoring a boat may not be everyone’s sense of fun, but for James Muggoch it’s a totally different story, especially when the boat in question is the last surviving first world war tug-boat.

The film, which is part of the Londoners on the Thames series in conjunction with Totally Thames, takes place on James’s tug-boat which is situated in Brentford and is known as the ‘Cob’.

From rigging the deck to testing the boat’s engine we get to see the inner workings of the boat which has become life-changing for James and his family. So much so that his youngest daughter had part of her wedding ceremony on the tug-boat. James who has lived on the Thames for most of his life also reflects on the changes within the boating community.

Film Maker:

Questions & Answers

  • What's your first memory of London? I'm from London, so my first memory of London is my first memory of anything! It's being at our family flat behind Cromwell Hospital, and seeing a crow fly into my bedroom.
  • What do you miss when you're away from London? I miss the tremendous diversity of stuff to do, the pubs and the river. I'm a Londoner through and through. I have spent a long time travelling the world, but I always remember coming back to London and feeling happy.
  • What's your favourite neighbourhood? The River Thames.
  • What's your favourite building? Buckingham Palace. To me it's the focal point of London. Whenever I ride my motorbike out of London for a long ride I always pass by the palace.
  • What's your ideal day out in London? I would take the tug out from Kew to the Thames Barrier, and then return coming back with the tide.
  • What's your ideal night out in London? There's a Chinese restaurant in Richmond that we always like to go out to as a family.
  • What's your most hated building? This is difficult. It's not a building really, it's a pier. Greenwich pier. They recently stopped allowing us to moor there, after years and years. Now we have to find somewhere else to stop the boat when visiting Greenwich Park.
  • What's the best view in London? Right now I'm on my houseboat looking at Kew Bridge. I can see herons and parakeets from the gardens. It's fantastic.
  • What's your favourite open space? Marble Hill park near Twickenham. I played rugby there as a boy.
  • What's the most interesting shop? Harrods, I love the traditions of the place, the food hall, the variety.
  • What's your favourite place to hang out? At Shepperton marina. I love going there to take our fishing boat out to the country.
  • What's been your most memorable night out in London? My 21st birthday party at Danny La Rue's club.
  • Where would you take someone visiting from out of town? Tower Bridge.
  • What's the worst journey you've had to make in London? I've never had to make a bad journey, life's too short to get upset like that. Stuff happens.
  • What's your personal London landmark? Tower Bridge, it means that I'm on my boat! My favourite place to be.
  • Who's your favourite fictional Londoner? Sherlock Holmes. I grew up with the stories and they are as popular now as they ever were.
  • What's your favourite London film, book or documentary? There was a documentary on the Thames that I watched years ago.
  • If you could travel to any time period in London, past or future, where would you go? I'd go back to when things were much cheaper, then bring them back and sell them on my antiques stall!
  • For you, who is the ultimate Londoner? Richard Branson.