Swinging the Lamp: Thames Estuary Tidal Tales

Author(s): Nick Ardley 

ISBN: 9781781554982
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The author weaves his magic amongst the salt, marsh and mud discovering lost endeavours dripping with bladder wrack…
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  • A book for lovers of sailing amongst salt, marsh and mud
  • Tales about exploring the lost industrial heritage around the Thames estuary
  • An unusual view of the estuary’s edges: a walker’s paradise
  • Swinging the Lamp is of love and enthusiasm for an unknown side of the River Thames

Salt water courses through Nick Ardley’s veins for he was brought up on a Thames spritsail barge and sailed the high seas on ocean-going ships. For many years, he has weaved his way through the Thames estuary’s tidal creeks and rivers, mostly aboard his clinker sloop, exploring and investigating. The Thames estuary is a world of constant flux. It is an artery of modern commerce and archaeology of past industry peppers its rivers and creeks. Flooded islands have become the domain of birds nesting on hummocks of saltings and feeding on mud flats. Rotting wharves are festooned with life and the time-worn ribs of barges the perch for cormorants.

Around all of that, man has created new uses for disused lime, cement and brick docks. Boatyards, marinas and waterside housing have emerged like a water-born phoenix from industrial ashes. Beneath Whimbrel’s swinging lamp, he muses about old souls, the relationship of humble spritsail barge and shoal draft yachts, but all along he is alive with enthusiasm for the environment in this little corner of England.

BOOK ISBN 9781781554982
FORMAT 248 x 172 mm
BINDING Paperback
PAGES 208 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 15 June 2016
TERRITORY World
ILLUSTRATIONS 32 black-and-white and 75 colour 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.


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