Top positive review
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Entertaining and personal account brings London's heritage to life
on 15 January 2012
My family hail from the East End of London, and for generations worked in the London Docks during their heyday as the centre of commerce for the British Empire. Sadly these relatives have now passed from living memory and with them their memories of these times. The Docks themselves have also become mostly derelict, or have been recycled unrecognisably in London City airport, apartment blocks, and now the London 2012 Olympic Park - it is very difficult to find out much that paints a picture of the sprawling and highly important London Docks, as they once lived and breathed.
I was delighted therefore to find this book, which is a treasure trove of one Docker's experiences - and my namesake! I do not generally enjoy academic history 'textbooks', so this book makes a refreshing, nourishingly subjective change. The intimacy of this work is as much biographical of A. E. Smith's life and the period, as it is a scholarly account of the workings, politics and attitudes of the London Docks during his working life.
Docks At Work will make a fascinating general read to anyone who picks it up, but will be especially interesting to scholars, those with a local interest such as myself, those tracing family histories, visitors to the area, or those interested in merchant maritime history. Highly recommended!