A History of Fish and Fisheries of the River Thames by David J Solomon - review by David Profumo

David Profumo

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A History of Fish and Fisheries of the River Thames

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Fluvial Books 258pp £25 order from our bookshop
 

After Kent, the Thames is the place with the oldest name in England, and has been one of the country’s ancient arteries for so long that he (unlike most rivers, Father Thames is traditionally represented as a chap) has become the subject of hundreds of books – from travelogues (Robert Gibbings) and histories (Hilaire Belloc, Dickens fils) to novels by the likes of Jerome K Jerome and Dickens père (David Copperfield, Our Mutual Friend). My own favourite fluvial laureate remains Patrick Chalmers, whose cultured, whimsical eulogy At the Tail of the Weir (1932) traces the river’s 209-mile course from Ashton Keys, ‘a little clearness of sherry-brown water, darting minnows and brook-cresses’. The author describes the book as ‘a sort of Song of Solomon in praise of the angle’.

Our current author, Dr David Solomon, a respected fisheries scientist who has known the river since childhood, is a keen angler – I first met him on a Cuban houseboat moored in the mangroves – and his study is energised by enthusiasm for its subject, the result being

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