Home » Art Life » The London River Man by John W Mills

The London River Man by John W Mills


London River Man

As regular readers will know, the Isle of Dogs is never short of surprises, however coming across the statue of The River Man on Marsh Wall was surprising due to the fact I have walked  past the statue hundreds of times without realising it was there.

In my defence its position in front of Ensign House near Admirals Way is obscured by buildings and the DLR.

The statue was made by John W Mills in 1987, The statue is about 75% life size with the Figure being around 145cm high.

John Mills has a reputation as one of Britain’s leading sculptors with recent high-profile works such as  the “Memorial to the Women of World War 2” which is now situated in Whitehall and the National Firefighters Memorial outside of St Pauls Cathedral.

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“This sculpture salutes all London river workers – toshers
bargees – dockers – ale tasters – coalheavers – ferrymen”

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John Mills was born in London in 1933, he studied at Hammersmith School of Art and the Royal College of Art.

 In addition to his work as a sculptor, he worked as a  teacher up to the 1980s.

In the last 40 years he has had One Man Exhibitions all over the UK and around the world. His work is collected by the Royal Family and many prestigious galleries and Museums.


His work is probably known to most of us through his awarding winning designs for coins at the Royal Mint in the 1990s.


As well as the large public statues, he also created statues of as diverse figures as Jackie Milburn in the North East and Alan Turing in Guildford


National Firefighters Memorial outside of St Paul’s Cathedral


Memorial to the Women of World War 2 in Whitehall


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