Author(s): Nick Ardley
People say that Nick Ardley is an eccentric, an anachronism from a simpler age, for the way he sails his clinker sloop around the Thames estuary, wending amongst the tide-riddled marshes to drop anchor where the fancy takes him.
In Rochester to Richmond: A Thames Estuary Sailor’s View, Ardley has a clear plan: a reflective journey between Rochester and London, a path once of commerce, but now pleasure. Rochester was of immense importance to Britain’s past trading richness too.
The belching chimneys pouring acrid fumes and cement dust have evaporated. Oil refineries have slipped away, but wharves lining the banks remain alive. As a distraction, he wanders a little above Rochester and then again, a little above the Pool of London towards Richmond. Between, he lands amongst the marsh and mud, finding graves and farmsteads enveloped in purslane and lavender.
Many towns sailed past were part of this heritage, supplying building materials and food carried by the tan-sailed barge to London. Ardley dips and dabbles into these communities and explores how they have transformed.
|248 x 172 mm
|15 July 2017
|106 black-and-white photographs
Nick Ardley was born in 1955 and brought up on a Thames spritsail barge. One of four children, he and his siblings soon became the crew. His working life was spent as an engineer officer with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Upon retiring, Ardley fell into writing, being asked to tell his childhood story. He now writes avidly about his love and enthusiasm of sailing amongst the rivers and creeks around the Thames and its estuary discovering its industrial history. His wife, Christobel, and ‘mate’ in his yarns, has grown to love the saltings too.