The Victorian Thames

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The nineteenth century was a time of great change on the Thames. As Victoria came to the throne, commercial traffic in the upper reaches was being drastically reduced by competition from the new railways; and in London, the greatest port in the world, Old Father Thames was dying, overcome by uncontrolled pollution from industry and a massive rise in population. Parliament became suddenly aware that the health of the nation was dependent on clean water, and authorized major supply and drainage schemes which began ...
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Overview

The nineteenth century was a time of great change on the Thames. As Victoria came to the throne, commercial traffic in the upper reaches was being drastically reduced by competition from the new railways; and in London, the greatest port in the world, Old Father Thames was dying, overcome by uncontrolled pollution from industry and a massive rise in population. Parliament became suddenly aware that the health of the nation was dependent on clean water, and authorized major supply and drainage schemes which began to bring the Thames back to life. This coincided with the beginnings of the Victorians' discovery of the delights of pleasure boating, and soon sleepy riverside towns in the Thames Valley awoke to the fact that thousands of visitors were descending upon them. Boatyards, inns and guest-houses were developed to receive this influx and a large service industry - particularly the building and hiring of punts, rowing skiffs and steamboats - was soon established throughout the river. The Victorian Thames seeks to recreate the river environment of the nineteenth century, from its source to the sea, through the personal accounts of its visitors and voyagers published at the time. Alongside local travellers such as Alfred Williams and others, writers of renown, including Henry James and Jerome K. Jerome, record their very different experiences of Thames boating. The ever-changing nature of the river, its people at work and at play, is shown in over 125 haunting photographs by the great Victorian Oxford photographer Henry Taunt, and his beautiful pictures vividly recapture the spirit of that vanished age.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A history of the river during a time of great change: reduction in commercial traffic because of competition from the railways; beginnings of efforts to clean up pollution; and the advent of the popularity of pleasure boating. Photographs by the Victorian Oxford photographer Henry Taunt complement the text. 10x8.25" Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780750901833
  • Publisher: Sutton Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/1993
  • Pages: 160

Table of Contents

Introduction
1 Thames Head to Oxford 1
2 Oxford to Reading 25
3 Reading to Maidenhead 60
4 Maidenhead to Teddington 85
5 The Tidal Thames 105
Sources and Acknowledgements 129
Index 131
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