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The Thames

Biography

The Thames is a river of history. We reveal how it has changed over the years, and expose the mudflats and marshes of the Thames Estuary.

The Basics

From its source near the Gloucestershire village of Kemble, to its arrival at the sea in Essex, the Thames is England’s second longest river, a mere five miles shorter than the Severn. The fact that it runs through the capital has made it the scene of many of the key events in the country’s history.

The Basics
Liquid History

Liquid History

England's most important waterway, the Thames, flows for 215 miles from its source in the Cotswold hills eastwards to the North Sea. In 1929, John Burns, MP for Battersea, compared the river he loved with other great waterways, and said, "The Saint Lawrence is water, the Mississippi is muddy water, but the Thames is liquid history."

The Changing River

In the 19th century, as London rapidly grew, the Thames became polluted with industrial waste and sewage. The swans and the salmon vanished, and the "silver streaming Thames" was transformed into an open sewer.

The Changing River