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Searching for Sir Humphrey: And Other Tales from the Thames Paperback – 1 Nov 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Tanners Yard Press (1 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954209680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954209681
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 1.1 x 25 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,260,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Morris was destined for a career as a scientist but dropped out of university after two terms. Physics had become too theoretical and he was drawn, by his more practical hobby, to photographic college. After three decades of corporate photography he moved to the Forest of Dean and with more time on his hands began documenting the area's old industry, abandoned and fading into the woods.

With help from the Countryside Agency this became his first book - Work in the Woods. Disagreement with the publisher, and further encouragement from the Agency, saw him set up the publisher Tanners Yard Press. More books followed, mostly documenting his interest in engineering history; against the trend in this field, none of Chris' books depend on old grey photography, rather celebrating their subject in a vivid modern style.

Product Description

From the Publisher

For his new book on the River Thames, Chris Morris has added another element to his previously much admired photographic treatments (eg. `Portrait of the Severn' and `The Great Brunel') by including a personal narrative text. While his main agenda is to reflect in his photographs the culture, history and habits of the river a strand of memoir (amplified by archive photos) acts as a counterpoint within the commentary.

The book takes as its starting point the quest to find the old family boat, the Sir Humphrey of the book's title. This search soon proves to be a catalyst helping rekindle childhood memories, which blend with the modern commentary and stories of the river encountered from the source to the sea. Unexpected connections (eg. Windsor being best remembered as a venue to watch the Rolling Stones in 1963) offer diversions during the river journeys.

From rush cutters and medieval stone bridges on the upper reaches, fishermen and restored steam launches on the middle river, through tourist London to the Barrier on the tideway, a wide selection of its many aspects coalesce to produce a portrait of the Thames, true to today while still redolent of the traditions and culture of England's greatest river.

From the Author

This book on the River Thames has been a voyage of re-discovery for me. Sir Humphrey is a boat my father bought in 1947 on which from a young age I spent many holidays. While the book is primarily a set of modern photographic essays on the Thames, both the photos and the personal commentary I have added reflect those early years and other involvements with the river in every decade since.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ms. K. A. O'Keefe on 12 Dec 2008
Format: Paperback
As a long-time admirer of Chris Morris's photographs, I came to this book with high expectations. Like his other books it is filled with striking images, but this one has an added bonus - a strong autobiographical current runs through it which allows us a glimpse of Chris's happy, post war boyhood by - and on - the Thames. Chris had an interesting, slightly eccentric childhood with the 'skipper' and the 'mate' (his parents) and it is delightful to trace their influence on the interesting, slightly eccentric author we get to know throughout the book.

As always, Chris's photographs show his uncanny ability to get right to the heart of his subjects, be they human, landscape or architectural. There are enough captivating scenes of rural England here to satisfy the most romantic reader, and many others exploring our industrial heritage - one of Chris's own fascinations. It's the people, though, that appeal most to me: they are so vividly and sympathetically captured that I felt I would like the chance for a good long chat with them all.

It's really the Thames that is the star of this book; its main character and its plot. Chris manages to weave together our iconic river's past and present and all its many manifestations in a charming, meandering narrative which makes you long to dip in. Many readers will find, as I did, that they get so fully immersed that they follow the course of the story right to its source.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Eddy on 10 Dec 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderfully engaging book, not only for its superb photographs of the Thames and the people who frequent it, but for the story of the author's sleuth-like search for the boat in which he and his family cruised the river during the post-War years. It is full of colourful characters and entertaining anecdotes, like that about the Alaska, a boat which served as a scout hut, and was partly demolished for firewood to raise money for a new hut, later to be restored to its former glory - and photographed by the author. This will appeal to anyone who, like me, appreciates boats, waterways, a good story, and excellent photography.
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