These pages about the Thames past and present come from are from Rivers of the South by AB Austin with photographs by J Dixon Scott, published in 1938.
It starts off rather dreamy, historical and angry about the changes the author sees in the landscape of the Thames, but changes in style as it proceeds.
There’s an outstandingly bonkers and dated passage that reads:
‘Until recently the paradox of the richest river in England, and possibly in the world, has been its shunning of those things which bring quick wealth. It has been a trading river, an argosy-bearing river, the river of the merchant-adventurer, not of mass-production, lighting-profit manufacturer. Now its lower valley shelters our light luxury plants, the monotonous assemblers of motor cars, wireless sets and every kind of glossy, brittle synthetic substance, even bakelite insulating boxes to make fool-proof the intestines of cinema organs.’
No quick wealth? What about spice traders, the slave trade and the City of London? The man was a dreamer but he could write a resounding paragraph…