Books by Patrick Wright:

The River: the Thames in Our Time

First and only edition: BBC Worldwide, 1999, 224 pp.
Patrick Wright: The River: the Thames in Our Time

About this book

I wrote this book while also writing and presenting a series of four television programmes about the Thames for BBC2. The text was produced over slightly less than a year, and under considerable pressure.  I was concerned not to produce the kind of ‘tie-in’ book that is really assembled from researchers’ notes and, whatever the book’s shortcomings, I did write every word of it myself.

I enjoyed working with the photographer Tino Tenaldi, and also playing against the conventional format of the illustrated coffee table book. We favoured dereliction, vandalised public art, makeshift shacks, and political eccentricity over swans, grand architecture and the organic idyll. We found a greater sense of location in the estuary – then a  wild and apparently abandoned place that had yet to be recategorised as a vast ‘brownfield site’ known as the Thames Gateway – than in upstream places like Windsor or Henley – the ‘Classy River’ of Berks and Bucks.

The book sold about 12,000 copies in the wake of the television programmes and then rapidly went out of print. No paperback edition was ever published.

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