Down by the River tells the history of Reading’s two rivers, the Thames and Kennet, through the stories of those who worked on them : millers, barge masters, lock-keepers, fishermen and boat builders; and those who rowed, swam, fished or boated on them. Shifting patterns of social, economic and technological change reflect 900 years of rise and fall in the significance of the waterways to Berkshire’s county town. Later, when the rivers became places of recreation, the focus is on local people enjoying swimming, angling and rowing, individually and in galas, competitions and regattas. For family historians Gillian Clark has added an appendix of the names of the waterside workers that she has found in her research.
Attractively designed, well-researched and packed full of over 150 maps, drawings, and contemporary photographs, many not seen before, this book will delight all those who have an interest in canals, boats, the Thames and the history of Reading.
Gillian Clark. Paperback, 254 x 170 mm, 204 pages, February 2009.