The Barter Archive aims to preserve the stories and collective memories of the people working at the Billingsgate Fish Market at Canary Wharf, London. The archive begins as a series of observational drawings which are gradually exchanged for the fishmongers’ stories, memories and personal objects.
On a Saturday morning, I brought my new drawing — a portrait of Bobby’s family — to them. They were so happy to receive it. Bobby brought me to his office and show me his porter license. When I got into their office, I saw many framed posters and old photos of boxers and football players. Bobby told me that one of them is his grandson. The younger brother of Henry (Bobby’s another grandson) is now a professional football player. He is called Bobby Unwin, same name with his grandpa. Bobby told me that he used to be a boxing player when he was young. He played several matches in the boxing ring. I could feel his passion when he told me his story of boxing. Apart from being a porter and boxer, he was also a part-time taxi driver. This is one of the reasons why he has become a fish shop owner.
His porter license number is 500. His original porter number was 4, but he lost it for some reasons, so he got a new number pledge. In the porter license document, I could clearly see the original number 4 was corrected by handwriting. The paper document also showed the license started from 1972 to 1994. Bobby has started to be a porter at his 19.