The Thames Estuary Library aims to chart responses to the estuary as a landscape, and as a cultural and historical phenomenon – a repository of sorts.
The idea for this project arose many years ago. One evening, whilst researching access to the riverfront for a cycle ride, I googled 'Thames Estuary Trail', thinking there might be a trail of just that name, given the estuary's importance (then there wasn't – now there is, albeit still far from taking in the whole estuary), but came across Tom King's book instead and, later that evening, discovered a highly detailed survey providing information precisely about what I had been looking for: cycle access along the estuary. I had by then become aware that I was not the only one being fascinated by the estuarine landscape (having picked up Jonathan Bayer's superb 'Eye on the Estuary' at a bookstall some months earlier), and I thought that it was odd that I couldn't seem to find a platform to gather and share both the interest the estuary did – and does continue to – attract, and information about it – thus the idea for this website was born. (The only other site I found which tries something vaguely similar was thamesestuary.com, set up by fellow northern German Jan Holthusen, originally with a strong focus on sailing, but lately also taking in other aspects of the estuary). For one or another reason (being busy at work, becoming a father etc) the project never quite materialised. But my interest never faded, and in the meantime I discovered other authors, photographers, film makers who had made the estuary their subject etc; eventually I found out that the estuary even had its very own festival.
Towards the end of 2017 I decided to move it forward; a first step was getting help with the technical side of things, and after receiving encouraging replies to my first few emails asking for consent to feature people's work, there was no way back...
The work is loosely grouped into categories, Photo, Books, Audio, Film, Art, I hope it's largely self-explanatory; at least one other category, Architecture / Landscaping is in preparation, but will take some time before being added.
This site has no ambition to be encyclopaedic – first and foremost, that would be way beyond my capacities. And whilst the estuary is the main focus of this site, I allow myself to venture beyond its geographical confines every now and then. The website is work in progress and will hopefully grow and evolve. I am always grateful for recommendations – please contact me with suggestions!