James Bentley

My name is James Bentley and I’ve been living on the canal for more than ten years now. You get rocked to sleep at night and rocked awake in the morning. I couldn’t go back to the land.

James Bentley James Bentley

I used to live in a flat in Broadway Market but when I was a youngster my Mum and Dad had a narrowboat. I was aware that there all sorts of activities on the waterways and I decided I wanted to move onto the canal. So I sold my flat and bought the boat.

There are some great stories about the Lea. Because it’s a river, it’s always been navigated. Apparently the Vikings came down the River Lea. I have a few favourite spots. I’m not stuck in London at all. I go out to the countryside in the summer time.

The Village Butty

I have this boat which is a community project. The Village Butty is a boat without an engine, traditionally used as spare cargo space for the old working boats. These things come up for sale every now and again and I thought I’d buy one as I wanted more space. It’s like living on a boat but having an extra front room as well. And it’s about being able to celebrate life and have a party, as you can fit quite a few people in there.

When I got the Village Butty, the idea was for me to work with people who were trading in some way, such as restaurant boats. We get quite a few musicians, and people who are out on the canal on a Saturday afternoon come in. It’s somewhere they can sit and eat. It’s for everybody.

Last date edited: 29 June 2017