The River Thames is the subject of many publications. On this page, we feature the Society's publications, those of individual members and those recommended by RTS members.
The River Thames Society publishes Thames Guardian, the colourful quarterly magazine looking at all aspects of the river.
Each issue includes several pages of news, features reflecting life and traditions on the river, a comprehensive diary of events and activities, and regular reports from the Society and its five branches.
All members receive each issue through the post.
Thames Guardian also helps publicise the Society’s campaigns, and recent articles have supported efforts to halt the proposed sale of lock-keeper’s houses and have promoted plans for major riverside clean-ups.
Each issue describes the varied work of the Society’s members and supporters and readers can enjoy their regular tales from the riverbank. Advertisements are welcome.
Editor: Ross Stokes email@example.com
Papers published by River Thames Society
Access to the Thames: Steps & Stairs
RTS Chairman, Peter Finch, has produced a report detailing Access to the River Thames: Steps, Stairs & Landing Places on the Tidal River. The access points include historic watermen's stairs and drawdocks, together with more modern sites. They are listed by local authority, working downstream, and include 15 London boroughs and five in Essex and Kent.
Download the latest edition updated in April 2022.
Policy Towards Houseboats
Houseboats are seen by some as one of the answers to the housing shortage, and by others as a way to make a quick profit. Whatever, the number and variety of Thames houseboats seems to be increasing. The RTS has drafted a policy statement about houseboats on the Thames, updating a policy from 35 years ago.
Download the report originally published in January 2019 and most recently updated in March 2021..
Advice for Houseboat Buyers
Hilary Pereira, RTS member and chair of the Upper Tideway Branch, outlines some of the pitfalls potential houseboat buyers might face and provides a comprehensive list of questions that should be asked prior to contract exchange, from whether the boat and moorings are fit for purpose to what would happen if it all went wrong.
Download the report last updated in March 2021
Visiting The Thames Tideway by Boat
Published in January 2022, RTS is pleased to provide up-to-date advice to help those planning an adventure on the tidal Thames.
The Society has always taken an interest in planning, on or by the Thames. Guidelines have been drawn up, under five themes based on our overall aims:
• Improve/maintain public access to the river
• Protect the natural environment
• Promote the best built environment
• Keep the river active
• Support like-minded others.
The RTS has a special contribution to make as we incorporate all those interested in the Thames and its active users. We cover all parts of the river and can bring expertise from many quarters. Unlike many amenity societies we cover both banks, we have no commercial interests and believe we are uniquely placed to present a balanced view.
Download the RTS Planning Guidelines.
River Thames Publications authored by RTS Members or recommended by RTS
Discovering London's Canals on Foot, by Bike or by Boat
by Derek Pratt and Richard Mayon-White
This book by Derek Pratt and Richard Mayon-White explores the beauty and delights of London's waterways, on foot,bike or by boat, It is a fascinating and thorough guide. Dick Mayon-White is an RTS member and former RTS Council member. The publishers are offering a 25% price discount for RTS members, using the code THAME25 when entering the checkout on Bloomsbury.com.
Exploring the Thames Wilderness by Wendy Yorke and
Thames Rivers Trust (TRT) and the River Thames Society (RTS) have collaborated to produce the first ever guide to the green spaces accessible to the public along the entire length of the river.
Exploring the Thames Wilderness by RTS members Wendy Yorke and Dick Mayon-White contains a wealth of information on more than 150 of the best places along the river to see wildlife and enjoy natural beauty. Illustrated with maps and photos, the guide gives all the information needed to visit each site, including how to get there, what plants and wildlife to look out for, car parking, toilets and activities that you can do.
Royalties on each copy sold go to help TRT and RTS in our work to protect and improve the Thames and its tributaries.
Our thanks go to Thames Water for sponsoring the production of this guidebook.
The Golden Thread: The River Thames from Source to Sea by Patrick Ward
Renowned photojournalist, Patrick Ward, has followed in the footsteps of Edwardian author Jerome K Jerome (Three Men in a Boat) to capture the flow of the Thames from source to sea, concentrating on the leisure uses of the great river.
Writing the Thames by Christine Hardyment
Writing the Thames tells a much-loved river's story through the remarkable prose, poetry and illustration that it has inspired.
Beautifully illustrated, this book celebrates the writers who have helped to make England's greatest river an enduring legend.
London in Fragments by Ted Sandling
Mudlarking, the act of searching the Thames foreshore for items of value, has a long tradition in England's capital. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, mudlarks were small boys grubbing a living from scrap.
Today's mudlarks unearth relics of the past from the banks of the Thames which tell stories of Londoners throughout history. From Roman tiles to elegant Georgian pottery, presented here are modern-day mudlark Ted Sandling's most evocative finds, gorgeously photographed.
Together they create a mosaic of everyday London life through the centuries, touching on the journeys, pleasures, vices, industries, adornments and comforts of a world city. This unique and stunning book celebrates the beauty of small things, and makes sense of the intangible connection that found objects give us to the individuals who lost them.
Panorama of the Thames: A Riverside View of Georgian London by John R. Inglis & Jill Sanders
This book takes us on a journey through Georgian London, Richmond to Westminster, following Samuel Leigh's fascinating panorama published 1829 with additional information about places passed. This book is out of print. However RTS members may take advantage of a special offer by purchasing a signed copy by contacting the project director.
Eyots and Aits by Miranda Vickers
For 10,000 years the River Thames meandered from source to sea, periodically throwing up mudbanks or carving parallel channels on the bends and creating islands along much of its length. There are around 180 islands altogether, some accessible by footbridge, some by road and others only by boat.
Walking the Thames Path by Leigh Hatts
The Thames Path is the only long-distance route to follow a river throughout its length from tidal waters and also the only one to pass through London and major cities and towns. The book is a guide to those who want to walk upstream.
The River Thames Book by Chris Cove-Smith
The River Thames Book is the bestselling guide to the non-tidal Thames from Teddington to its source in Gloucestershire. It also covers the River Wey, Basingstoke Canal and the Kennet & Avon Canal to Great Bedwyn. Chris's text describes the navigation, while detailed mapping makes the cruising experience even clearer. The book also lists in exhaustive detail the facilities to be found along each section of the waterway, as well as carrying a generous overview of the work of the River Thames Society on its opening pages.
The River Thames In Verse edited by Val Mason
An illustrated anthology of new poems from the Society's Open Poetry Competition in the winter of 2002 - 3 which attracted over 140 poems with the winning entries chosen by the poet, Wendy Cope. The poems describe many different aspects of the river and the collection is enriched by a set of beautiful illustrations, many of them created especially for the book.
Boats, locks and bridges by John Dalton
Concentrating mainly on just six miles of the Upper Thames around Wallingford and Benson, this book is able to look closely into the history of that part of the River - its ferries and bridges, locks and weirs, development and activity on the water and along the riverbank - and recall some of the much loved 'characters' who have been part of that scene. But this detail is also typical of the River and its surroundings along much of its entire eighty miles through Oxfordshire.
Captain Gray's Houses: A History of Sion Row, Twickenham
by Robert Shepherd
Twickenham is chiefly known today as the home of rugby, but its heyday could be said to be in the eighteenth century when first Alexander Pope and then Horace Walpole made it their home and extolled its Arcadian setting.
Captain Gray, a naval officer, acquired plots of land close to the river in Twickenham in 1718 on which he built two rows of houses, Sion Row and Montpelier Row, which survive to this day and are much admired.
A History of Fish and Fisheries on the River Thames
by David J. Solomon
This book describes the history and development of fish stocks and fisheries of the river Thames, both historically for food and more recently for sport. It is lavishly illustrated with old engravings and photographs, and contains a wealth of anecdotes and stories that will delight the angler, natural historian and fisheries professional alike. The author is first a lifelong angler and second a fishery scientist and he draws on his long experience in both fields for the background and material for this book.
London's Waterfront : The Thames from Battersea to the Barrier by Nicholas Waldemar Brown & Graham Reed
The book provides a detailed and architectural panorama of the buildings that line the
banks of the Thames, illustrated by original drawings, providing a unique historical record of the waterfront at the turn of the Millennium.
'PUDGE' - a survivor by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust
To celebrate the 100th Birthday of the Thames sailing barge Pudge, a book has been produced by the Trust to tell her story both in trade and whilst in the ownership of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust.
'Trailblazer Guide to the Thames Path, third edition 2022
This guide has been brought up-to-date with version 3 being published in May 2022.
'The History of the Port of London: A Vast Emporium of Nations' by Peter Stone
The History of the Port of London: A Vast Emporium of Nations is the fascinating story of the rise and fall and revival of the commercial river. The only book to tell the whole story and bring it right up to date, it charts the foundation, growth and evolution of the port and explains why for centuries it has been so important to Britain's prosperity.
'Just Add Water' by Sarah Henshaw
An inspiring guide to activities and adventures to re-energise and boost your mood, by our rivers, lakes and canals. The author is a former editor of the RTS Thames Guardian magazine. The publishers are offering a 25% price discount for RTS members, using the code THAME25 when entering the checkout on Bloomsbury.com.
'Dock Life Renewed' by Nicki Gorick
This book explains how London's Docks are thriving again. It is a photographic insight into contemporary living, working and playing on the waters of London’s docks. Publication is in April 2023. The author London photographer Niki Gorick focuses on St. Katharine Docks, the Surrey Docks and the Isle of Dogs to illustrate the rich mix of personalities and activities in these converted commercial docks.
'Alice in Waterland' by Mark Davies
A world famous Oxford story from a distinct angle, the key role of the River Thames in the creation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
'In the Works'
One of our members has advised us that a new book about Lord Desborough is being written for publication in 2023.