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The Thames - Derek Pratt

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IF YOU’VE ever walked beside the Thames and wondered where this beautiful river begins and ends its journey, then wonder no more. For Derek Pratt provides the answers to these and other questions in a new book entitled simply The Thames.

It is, in fact, a photographic journey from its source near Kemble to the open sea and as such presents a comprehensive picture of one of Britain’s most famous rivers. Included are rural, urban and industrial landscapes, as well as royal landmarks and famous events – Henley Regatta for example.

The images are as diverse as the river itself and include not only famous but also lesser known landmarks. For example, we’re all well aware of Lord Nelson atop his column in Trafalgar Square, but how many of us, I wonder, know that there’s also a very fine likeness of the renowned admiral outside the Trafalgar Tavern in Greenwich? I didn’t.

As well as each image having its own illuminating caption, the whole is accompanied by an informative and fascinating text. For instance, the first owner of Cliveden House near Maidenhead, George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, killed the Earl of Shrewsbury in a duel on the terrace during an affair with Lady Shrewsbury, who watched disguised as a pageboy. Something else I didn’t know.

The images are lovely and what you see is definitely what you get. I know because I’m familiar with certain stretches of the Thames and the images really do capture them exactly as they are.

The Thames will almost certainly appeal to anyone interested in this remarkable river. It will also provide a lasting souvenir of a visit – whether in London or further afield. But whichever, I guarantee it won’t disappoint.