The Diver is quite possibly the best example of performance art to be found anywhere in London and it is a sight to see in all weathers and at all stages of the tide. It has such a distinctly Marvin-esque feel about it...

Hugh Edmondes-Preedy

John Kaufman (1941–2002) was a self-taught sculptor living and working in the London Borough of Havering, East London. Inspired by prominent public artist Don Rankin to create his own major piece of public art, John embarked on the Diver project in 1995. Initially he had to finance the project himself, but later received funding from Cleanaway, a local refuse company. With the help of mentoring from Don Rankin, proper support from the Havering London Borough Council in the person of Adam Nardell and additional financial support from his friend John Bowyer, John was able to complete and site the statue in August 2000 in its current location.

The piece is inspired by Kaufman's own family history. His grandfather, Friederich Johann Andreas Kaufmann, was a clearance diver in the London Docks, c.1900. The sculpture stands as a monument to both him and all the men of the area who worked in very difficult and dangerous conditions.

Soon after the completion of the sculpture, John fell ill and died, in 2002. After his death, a wake was held at the location of the sculpture with his family and friends.

The sculpture is sited in the River Thames and is viewable from the Stone barges car park that can be reached from Coldharbour Lane.
Mike Miles
and thanks to Hugh for the words....