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Long ago film and photos of London, the Thames, and the Thames Estuary

Thames film

A 1928-9 river travelogue from Tower Bridge, through London’s busy docks, past famous downstream landmarks at Greenwich including sailing barge moorings, all the way down to Canvey Island, Hadleigh Ray to Benfleet’s The Hoy pub, and then to Southend Pier where the cameraman lands at Southend Pier heads towards town on one of the pier’s famous trains.

If that’s not enough, check out these fabulous photos of the London River published by the Standard.

PS – While we’re dreaming about the Thames, I gather that in April the Bodleian Library’s publishing arm is set to publish a new book, Writing the Thames, that collects together writings and pictures of the Thames going back to the time of Julius Caesar, and includes the 55BC story of the Chertsey elephant, lots of well known authors, drownings and dead bodies.

Excerpts from  American Henry Wellington Wack’s 1906 account In Thamesland, Being a Gossiping Record of Rambles through England from the Source of the Thames to the Sea is included,  as well as Steffan Hughes’s Circle Line recording his 70-mile epic journey around London’s waterways.

Commodore Munroe’s Egrets sailing on a blue sea…

This is especially for everyone who, like me, is dreaming of the summer.

If you’re curious about these elegant and unusual craft (which you may very well be, particularly if you’re a flat-bottom averse British sailor) take a peek at these links: Munroe and Egret at Duckworksmagazine, Ralph Munroe at the Wikipedia, Planing Around. Munroe was hugely influential – it seems to me his ‘Presto sharpie’ lifting keel hull forms would have seemed reasonably modern for decades after his death in 1933.

Fascinating though the Egrets are, I do wonder how you reef them before the squall arrives, which of course is essential in the waters around the UK – and yet boats like this used to perform all-weather services such as delivering and collection the mail, and life saving. As someone who single-hands quite often, I would not be keen on tottering about trying to manage those foresails.

Racing in the Philippines

Cheer up boaters of the North. The good weather is coming (hopefully)! My thanks to dinghy designer and sail maker Mik Storer for passing this one along.

Old boats, traditional boats, boat building, restoration, the sea and the North Kent Coast – Gavin Atkin's weblog