Book reviews — October 2015
'Down Stream: A History and Celebration of Swimming the River Thames', by Caitlin Davies
400 pages, Aurum Press 2015; £16.99. ISBN 978 - 1781311196. There is a Kindle edition
This book is about how we once used the river and how we might use it again in the future. We tend to think of the Thames as a stretch of water where no sane person would consider swimming but it is claimed that London's river is now the cleanest metropolitan river in Europe — what a change in 60 years. Three thousand people swam in Millwall Dock in August 2014 and there are other organised mass swims.
The book also deals with swimming in the river in previous times. King Edward II swam in the Thames and Charles II used to swim near Battersea. In the 1870s Captain Webb trained for his celebrated cross-Channel swim in the Thames and many lesser mortals exercised by swimming in the river, some until relatively recently. Bob Carr
© GLIAS, 2015