River crossings: the mighty London Thames

Watson, Sophie (2023). River crossings: the mighty London Thames. In: Bates, Charlotte and Moles, Kate eds. Living With Water: Everyday Encounters and Liquid Connections. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 82–99.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7765/9781526161734.00014


This chapter considers the movements through and across rivers and the different ways water in cities is traversed, and what is made in the process. Taking the mighty London Thames as the focus, the chapter delves into the way bodies are carried across the river in water craft or above the river on bridges. Each of these material artefacts speak to different cultural interpretations of water and the objects with which it connects bodies to each other and across space. Bridges are more than roads across the river, they convey different understandings of city spaces and cross social and cultural boundaries in their construction and use. Water crafts also are embedded in complex cultural, social and economic relations which are differentiated both in terms of use and in the meanings attributed to them. Looking at the wherry, the barge, and the passenger ferries, this chapter unpacks their associated mobilities, uses and meanings. A selection of bridges represent another matter of concern, how and why they were built, in what location and by what means, in order to reveal the complexities of river crossings in the city

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