The River Thames has been a part of London life since, well since London. The Romans built Londinium in the 1st century at the point where the Thames was narrow enough to build a bridge and deep enough for sea going ships.
Flowing from Gloucestershire in the West to it’s mouth at Southend in Essex the Thames is the 2nd longest river in the UK and the longest entirely in England. The Thames was a thriving port up until shortly after the end of WWII, many areas of docklands in East London being subjected to repeated bombing during the Blitz.
These days there is little commerce left on the Thames and it’s main use is for pleasure and travel. River boats ferry passengers into the city from the suburban areas and an abundance of sailing and rowing boats adorn it’s reaches of a weekend. Walk along the Thames to the west of London in the early morning or after work and you will be treated to views of rowers and scullers from the vast array of ancient rowing clubs that adorn the banks from Putney to Richmond and further upstream.
Perhaps the most famous view of the Thames in the last century is the annual Oxford v Cambridge University boat race, held since 1856 around the beginning of April when the tide is full both teams race the 4.2 mile stretch from Putney Bridge to Mortlake.
The image above is taken from under Barnes bridge, the entrance to the final bend, the chimney of the Stag Brewery in Mortlake stands yards from the finish line giving both crews a marker to aim for.
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- Gallery: BNY Mellon Boat Race 2013 Oxford v Cambridge – Preview (metro.co.uk)
- Oxford Defeats Cambridge in the 159th Boat Race on Thames (bloomberg.com)
- Thames flood warning for Boat Race crowds (express.co.uk)