Night Watch

The Thames after dark…

As the changing of the clocks last weekend marks a deeper descent into early evening winter darkness, some Twitter friends have kindly agreed to share their pictures of the Thames at night. So please escape today’s anxieties for a while and stroll along with them to see the river through their eyes.

Teddington Lock footbridge ©Astrid Tontson

Based in Kingston Astrid Tontson has a large and appreciative following for her beautiful sounds of dawn and pictures of awakening life in Bushy Park. You can follow her on Twitter @Astrid_Tontson, Instagram, and her “Soul Food – videos of calming scenes in nature” on YouTube.

Walk alongside the river at Twickenham ©Ruth Wadey

If you live in the London area, or further afield, you might quite often have noticed the photo credit ‘ruthiebabes’ attached to a BBC Weather Watchers’ image. This is Ruth Wadey. Not only is she a talented photographer, she is also an artist, and you can see her work at her gallery Ruth Wadey, and you can follow her on Twitter @ruths_gallery and Instagram.

Hammersmith Bridge ©Kristi Tange

Hammersmith Bridge, in the news recently, has been closed to all traffic, both road and river, since August 13, 2020, for safety reasons. This is causing inconvenience and annoyance to many, particularly as disagreement about who should pay for repairs is holding up the necessary work. Kristi Tange, a keen photographer living nearby, often walks along the river there and has, among other London scenes, been recording some of the boats guarding the bridge. You can follow her on Twitter @KristiTange

Putney Bridge ©Andrew Wilson

Author and photographer Andrew Wilson is a also publisher. Among others, he has written several books, beautifully illustrated with his photographs, on areas in London close to the Thames, including Chiswick, Barnes, Putney, Battersea and Chelsea. You can explore his site Wild London and follow him on Twitter @wildlondonpics

Albert Bridge ©Wal Daly-Smith

Wal Daly-Smith is a Director of Thames Ranger Marine Services, also acting as commercial Skipper/crew for the company. He is a keen photographer and you can see some of his work in ‘From the River’. He was my first interviewee back in February 2019 and you can read about the importance of the Thames throughout his life by clicking here.

View from below Lambeth Bridge on a stormy evening © Ian Ruffles

Acting as mate/deckhand on this job for the Illuminated River art commission with safety boat PROTECTOR, Ian Ruffles also skippers other boats mainly sailing barges. You can follow him on Twitter @capt_PB and you can see him demonstrating how to ascend to the top of barge S.B. CAMBRIA, a preserved Thames sailing barge, by clicking here.

The London Eye © Alastair Hilton

Living on a narrowboat, photographer Alastair Hilton tweets an eclectic variety of pictures of his life and travels along the canals and rivers of London on Twitter @London_W4 For his professional portfolio, click on Art Store and Portrait Gallery to see the wide range of his work.

HEARN MEDICINE CHEST, the newest RNLI boat on the Thames, based at Tower Lifeboat Station © Chris Walker
Lifeboat HEARN MEDICINE CHEST in action, heading towards Tower Bridge © Tower Lifeboat Station

Tower Lifeboat Station on the Thames at Waterloo, is the busiest RNLI Station in the country. Lifeboat HEARN MEDICINE CHEST was funded by Jimmy Hearn and his wife Anne. “Jimmy was sailing in the 1979 Fastnet race, during which fifteen people lost their lives in a raging sea. Heading back to port, he saw brave RNLI volunteers setting straight out into the storm to help.” The Hearn Medicine Chest Trust was set up soon afterwards “with the aim of one day funding a lifeboat.” This latest addition to the Tower fleet is a fulfilment of the Trust’s original goal. Follow Tower Lifeboat Station on Twitter @TowerRNLI
Chris Walker, one of the Helms at the Tower Station, often illustrates his tweets with action photos. You can read about him by clicking here and follow him on Twitter @RescueShrek1

View of Blackfriars Bridge and St. Paul’s from the OXO Tower © Spike Abbott

Yeoman Warder Spike Abbot, Beefeater 402, at H.M. Tower of London has exceptional views over the river from the Tower itself and roundabout this famous part of the city. This photo was taken from the OXO tower. You can follow him on Twitter to discover more about life in the Tower @spike_abbott

View from One Blackfriars of the four bridges already lit up as part of the Illuminated River Art Commission. ©James Newton

“Drawing inspiration from the spirit and history of the river Thames”, Illuminated River is a public art commission by Leo Villareal, which will eventually see the lighting of fourteen central London bridges. Here, stretching into the distance towards Tower Bridge, you can see the four bridges whose lighting has already been installed: Millennium Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Canon Street Railway Bridge and London Bridge. Follow the project on Twitter @IlluminatedRiv The illuminations are switched on from sunset till 2.00 am.

Tower Bridge ©Mark Roche

Based in London Mark Roche specialises in landscape and street photography. He enjoys sharing his ideas and working with others. He has a passion “for capturing images that excite and draw you in”. You can follow him on Twitter @Markroche114

View across the river from Wapping. © Simon Cardy

Meteorologist Simon Cardy, based in Wapping, is a perceptive photographer who loves London and takes fine pictures of the river Thames and skies around him. You can follow him on Twitter @weather_king

The Isle of Dogs ©Jon Carruthers

Having moved to Rotherhithe during lockdown, Jon Carruthers enjoys exploring and photographing the river. He has covered most of the tidal Thames from Teddington to the Hoo Peninsula in Kent. “Its ever-changing nature and its history are what I love about it.” And that feeling clearly shows in his images. You can follow him on Twitter @carruthers_jon

London sunset ©Michelle Buchan

Michelle Buchan’s stunning shots over the Thames from the Isle of Dogs, with their silhouetted skylines and big open skies to the west, lead your gaze to the heart of London. You can often see her images of striking sunsets on Twitter @M_Buchan

Covid-19 limitations and lockdowns have severely affected the activities of the pleasure and party boats which usually light up the night-time Thames. It is a difficult time for everyone involved, the companies, their crews and all their staff, many of whom have lost their jobs. We should all come together to support them when they can safely take to the river again. There is so much to see and to enjoy along along its shores…

With thanks for joining in with the project to:
Astrid Tontson, Ruth Wadey, Kristi Tange, Andrew Wilson, Wal Daly-Smith, Ian Ruffles, Alastair Hilton, RNLI Tower Lifeboat Station, Chris Walker, Spike Abbot, James Newton for Illuminated River, Mark Roche, Simon Cardy, Jon Curruthers and Michelle Buchan.

Further information
“From the City to the Sea”: The Thames at Night October 30, 2019. You can discover the author on Twitter @VanishedLondon
The Bridges of Old London by the Gentle author.