The Lure and Lore of London’s River. By A.G. Linney. Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. nd. but c.1933 [ebook]


The Lure and Lore of London’s River. By A.G. Linney. Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. nd. but c.1933. Hardback book black cloth binding, 9”x 6”, pp. 242, full page B&W frontispiece, 47 B&W half tone photos mainly by the author.  Many of the pictures are rather small but  nonetheless full of interest like the Surrey Entrance Lock, pinpointing the site of the old entrance to the Grand Surrey Canal. There are 8 pages of sketch maps showing the reaches of the Thames.


This is by no means a sequel to “Peepshow of the Port of London” (ghastly title!) but rather a comfortable jacket enfolding the earlier book and extending its reach.

I have never seen a photo of Linney but from his style of writing I get a very clear mental picture. He is of medium height, dressed in a comfortable old tweed jacket and cap probably wearing trousers rather than plus two breeches and well-polished brown brogues. As he guides us along those stretches of the riverside accessible to the public he strides out briskly swinging his ash-plant, this last possibly a relic of service in The Great War as an infantry officer. For those stretches of the riverside which can only be viewed from the water, I see him at the helm of a small well-kept steam launch, but he is still smoking a much-loved old briar pipe which is trailing whiffs of one of those faintly aromatic tobaccos which seem to have gone off the market nowadays – possibly   “ Parson’s Pleasure”… There, that should put readers in the right frame of mind to enjoy this guided tour of the Thames and the riverside communities between the Wars

Linney has particularly good Chapters on Rotherhithe and Limehouse waterfronts and the tribulations of the Lockmaster at Surrey Entrance Lock in the 1860s. At the time Linney was writing the Thames was beginning to change with more modern industries springing up and spreading down river, but there were still the occasional “tall ships” bringing in cargoes from far away and the river was still thronged with the characteristic Thames sailing barges which could navigate on a length of damp flannel up a myriad of creeks and inlets. He is one of those companionable authors whom I would very much have liked to have met

“Lure and Lore” like “Peep Show” has many odd facts and anecdotes which I have not seen elsewhere other than in some more recent publications which obviously got them from these. Highly recommended.



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