Down By the River takes us on a journey through society from the 1100s to the 1960s. By concentrating on the Rivers’ Thames and Kennet as they flow through Reading we get a slice through history from an unusual angle.
The book is generously illustrated with maps, drawings, photographs, reproductions of advertisements and cartoons. It is packed with anecdotes and tales to thrill and engage but it is also a useful academic text as Ms Clark has referenced all her research materials.
We start our journey in Caversham in the 1100’s. The waterside crossing point had been there since Neolithic time and developed by the Romans until it became important enough to warrant a bridge and a weir. This then led to the building of a mill and more boats arriving which meant a lock had to be built and from this a small fishing industry developed.
This small patch of land held an important position, surrounded as it was by land owned by high status people. It was also close to The Abbey, founded in 1121 by Henry I. Toing and froing from The Abbey kept the river crossing and wharfs busy.
Read on to find out how this small place grew and developed to become Reading, the modern town we all know. From the earliest fishing industry to the coming of the steam engine and on into the 20th Century the Kennet, the Thames and the Kennet and Avon Canal have always had an influence on the commerce and leisure of the people of Reading.
At its heart this is a book about change and how it affects the lives of the people working and living down by the river.
Two Rivers Press are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. To honour the occasion they are offering a 20% discount on books ordered via the Two Rivers Press website.
Down by The River, The Thames and Kennet in Reading by Gillian Clark
Published by Two Rivers Press www.tworiverspress.com