Just In Case You Missed Our Terrific Thames Talks This Weekend

By Londonist Last edited 39 months ago
Just In Case You Missed Our Terrific Thames Talks This Weekend
Tom Chivers uncovers London's lost rivers
Tom Chivers uncovers London's lost rivers
Tom Chivers  and Tom Bolton discuss London's lost rivers
Tom Chivers and Tom Bolton discuss London's lost rivers
Author Tom Bolton reveals some of the secrets of London's lost rivers
Author Tom Bolton reveals some of the secrets of London's lost rivers
Tom Bolton chats to audience members after his talk
Tom Bolton chats to audience members after his talk
Londonist Afloat saw hundreds of people listen to talks aboard HMS President.
Londonist Afloat saw hundreds of people listen to talks aboard HMS President.
Caitlin Davies (l) and Chris Romer-Lee dip their toes into the history of swimming in the Thames
Caitlin Davies (l) and Chris Romer-Lee dip their toes into the history of swimming in the Thames
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Matt Brown entertains with oddities of the Thames
Matt Brown entertains with oddities of the Thames
Peter Berthoud lifts the lid on some more Thames oddities
Peter Berthoud lifts the lid on some more Thames oddities
londonistafloat_totallythames_20sep14-158.jpg
londonistafloat_totallythames_20sep14-159.jpg
londonistafloat_totallythames_20sep14-182.jpg

All photos by José Farinha

If you weren't one of the hundreds of people who joined Londonist aboard HMS President at the weekend for two days of riverine talks as part of the Thames Festival, then you missed out.

But never fear — you can get a taste of what you missed (and remind yourself not to miss the next one) with our photo gallery.

Saturday's talks saw Tom Bolton and Tom Chivers go toe-to-toe in a geek-off about London's Lost Rivers — from the Fleet to the Effra, covering topics from skulls dug out of the mud to the Roman cult of Mithras.

Following the Toms' uncovering of underground parts of London, author Caitlin Davies and Chris Romer-Lee of the Thames Baths Project took a not-inconsiderable dip into the history of swimming in the Thames. Which led neatly into Matt Brown and Peter Berthoud's Thames Oddities talk. This included a brief overview of the history of fancy swimming — where women took to the water to swim while holding a parasol — among other topics including the history of tightrope walking over the river and daredevils flying planes beneath bridges.

Sunday's discussions revealed some of the more unusual myths and mysteries which swirl around the river, from tales of child sacrifice then the debunking of the story of the angel of the Thames, as Scott Wood and Robert Stephenson dug up some of the less savoury — and purely fanciful — elements of London's folklore.

More fact-based were presentations by Georgina Young of the London Museum and Christopher West on the history of West India Docks and St Katharine Docks, respectively. From criminal gangs to the impact the docks still have today, the two painted vivid portraits of these key engines of the capital's advancement.

The day finished with a family-friendly set of songs and tales of the river from London Dreamtime, during which songwriter Nigel of Bermondsey asked the audience for inspiration for a song, which he then wrote in 35 minutes.

If you have ever wondered if it's possible to get the words "elephant", "mermaid", "submarine" and "water snake" in one song, you can find out by listening to Nigel's track here:

Last Updated 23 September 2014

Chris West

Congratulations Team Londonist- I was there both days and everyone I saw seemed very happy and enjoying themselves. The feedback from my own Talk with Georgina Young on Sunday afternoon was all positive- the organisation was good and H.M.S. President is a great venue. Good luck for the coming year Londonist, and I look forward to your 10 year old birthday party (how has the time passed so quickly)?

Tracy Rosen

Loved the day and was telling a freind of mine and she used to work in the docks
I would love to get her talking to the guy that was talking about st Kathrine docks if it was possible