Springtime along the tidal Thames…

…with photographs by Twitter photographer friends.

Once again, I’ve called upon a few Twitter friends to join in a virtual trip along the tidal Thames, this time with their views of the river in springtime.

Eel Pie Island in springtime © Ruth Wadey

Artist Ruth Wadey not only recognises the possibilities for a good photograph, often capturing fleeting moments on the river and the skies above, she also has perfect views along the Thames at Twickenham. She is a BBC Weather Watcher known as #ruthiebabes and if you look out for her images, you will notice that apart from her riverscapes, she has a real affinity with clouds. You can visit her online gallery to see a full range of her work, including her paintings, and follow her on Twitter @ruths_gallery

Richmond Bridge © Astrid Tontson

Astrid Tontson has kindly lent me two of her photographs for this springtime look at the tidal Thames. However she is best known for her breath-taking images and short videos of dawn scenes in Bushy and Richmond Parks. You can follow her on Twitter @Astrid_Tontson, where you will find links to her Instagram images and Youtube films. Watch them on full screen with the sound on and you will, for a moment, forget about the world outside.
‘Photographer shares stunning photos of Royal Parks’: A lovely interview with Astrid Tontson by Orlando Jenkinson of the Richmond & Twickenham Times, May 19, 2020.

In happier times: a sunny spring day on the river by The White Cross, Richmond © Astrid Tontson
The Bulls Head, Chiswick © The Bulls Head

The Bulls Head is a lovely Grade II listed riverside inn, licensed since 1772, once used by riverboat and barge captains to organise the hiring of crews along with the distribution and delivery of cargoes. Standing next to Kew Rail Bridge with its distinctive lattice work, The Bulls Head has lovely views over the river. You can follow the Landlady’s personal tweets @TheBullsHeadW4

Piece of a Victorian tile taken frrom Strand-on-the-Green, Chiswick, with Kew Bridge in the distance © Liz Anderson

Liz Anderson is an accredited “Thames Mudlark, writer, blogger and photographer, passionate about London’s history.” You can discover what mudlarking involves and read her engaging and thoughtful articles here: A Mudlark’s Diary. You can also find her on Twitter: @liz_lizanderson and Instagram: lizanderson2.

Glorious Wisteria on Chiswick Mall, close to Chiswick Eyot © Kristi Tange

Kristi Tange, a keen photographer often walks by the river, recording scenes and nature in the Hammersmith and Barnes areas. You can follow her on Twitter @KristiTange

Thames Path, Barnes just before The White Hart © Andrew Wilson

Publisher and photographer Andrew Wilson lives in Putney. His beautiful nature photographs brighten up my Twitter timeline and he has written about, and photographed, many Thames-side areas for his delightful series of books on Wild London. You can follow him on Twitter @wildlondonpics and you can discover more about him in this Time and Leisure article and on his website here.

Figure on the foreshore of Victoria Tower Gardens with Westminster Bridge in the background
© Patricia Stoughton
Canada Goose family © Patricia Stoughton
Sunrise from the Millennium footbridge to Tower Bridge in the distance ©Wal Daly-Smith

Wal Daly-Smith, Director and Founder of Thames Ranger Marine Services, was the first of my interviewees on this site, not only helping me at the beginning but being there from then on to answer a whole variety of questions. Photography, most particularly of the Thames, has been an important theme running through his life. See his ‘Views from the River’. See some of his Thames pictures here.

A 2021 springtime picture: a reminder of this year’s cold months of April and May, by Liz Anderson
© Liz Anderson
Blossom by the side of Tower Bridge © Anne Johnson

Anne Johnson is longtime friend and occasional visitor to London. Her picture is from April 2018.

© Jon Carruthers

Jon Carruthers’ striking images always stand out in my Twitter timeline. He has photographed most of the tidal Thames from Teddington to the Hoo Peninsula in Kent. Sensitive to the ever-changing nature of the river, he captures boat traffic, and records London’s riverside architecture in a whole colour chart of light. You can follow him on Twitter @carruthers_jon

View across the river to the Isle of Dogs © Emily Lovell

Emily Lovell is a freelance photographer living on the Greenwich Peninsula. She enjoys taking pictures of London life and has a special interest in Japan and Japanese culture. You can visit her website to see her gallery here. and you can follow her on Twitter @emilyjanelovell

A springtime view through blossom to the QE II Bridge © Ian Tokelove

Ian Tokelove “enjoys exploring the UK’s wild spaces, rivers & seas, especially in & around London”, sharing his experiences through writing and photography.
You can follow him on Twitter @iantokelove You can also follow explore his site Canoe London for information on canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding across our city. His companion website Remote London, will complete the picture, taking readers to places on the river and around London that many would otherwise never know. His article “Fulham to Westminster, – kayaking London with the Thames tides” takes you through a stretch of the river, familiar to many from the river banks, and gives it a new perspective.

Many thanks to all who have joined in this springtime hommage to the river that we all share.

The tidal Thames: an ever-ebbing or flooding and fast-flowing ‘liquid highway’ threading a path through our history and the dance of the seasons…

Thames Clippers 2

New livery for Thames Clippers

Thames Clippers is now in partnership with Uber. After an agreement finalised in August 2020, the new name of London’s river bus service is Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. The names of the twenty vessels in the fleet have remained the same and, as you may know, are weather or space themed. Each clipper has its own distinctive flash of colour painted on the bow.
When the service first started under Sean Collins and Alan Woods in May 1999, it began with three Hydrocats, SKY, STAR and STORM; which were later joined by River Runner and Hunt Class vessels, together with three other specially tasked boats. Here I have photographed and recorded all the clippers, save two, in their new livery, adding a few details, which can be further explored on Uber Boat by Thames Clippers.
Hydrocats
At the time of writing STAR and STORM Clippers are in dry dock so that SKY Clipper is the only one that I’ve seen and been able to photograph recently.

SKY Clipper hosting a press event

SKY, STORM and STAR were “originally built by FBM Marine, on the Isle of Wight, in 1992 for a high-speed passenger ferry service to aid the redevelopment of London’s docklands.” They joined Thames Clippers when the company was set up in 1999.

River Runners
The majority of the fleet is made up of nine River Runners: AURORA, CYCLONE, HURRICANE, METEOR, MONSOON, MOON, SUN, TORNADO and TYPHOON.

AURORA Clipper

AURORA Clipper was built in Australia by Brisbane Ship Construction, as were: CYCLONE, METEOR, MONSOON, TORNADO and TYPHOON, and she joined the fleet in 2008. She is a ‘Typhoon class’ vessel and the colour on her bow is light blue.

CYCLONE Clipper

CYCLONE Clipper joined the fleet in 2007. She is a ‘Typhoon class’ vessel and her individual colour stripe on her bow is orange.

HURRICANE Clipper

Specially built for Thames Clippers by NQEA, Engineers and Shipbuilders in Cairns, Australia, HURRICANE Clipper joined the fleet in 2001 and was for a time their flagship. You might have seen her in another guise when she spent some time covered in Damien Hurst spots as she ran the Tate to Tate service from Tate Britain to Tate Modern, bringing both art galleries to public attention. Her bow stripe is a cheerful lime green.

METEOR Clipper

Built by Brisbane Ship Construction in Australia, METEOR Clipper joined the fleet in 2008. She is a ‘Typhoon class’ vessel and her individual bow colour is bright red.

MONSOON Clipper

MONSOON Clipper, also built by Brisbane Ship Construction, joined the fleet in 2007. She is a ‘Typhoon class’ vessel and her individual stripe of bow colour is dark pink.

MOON Clipper

Together with her sister SUN Clipper, MOON Clipper was built by NQEA, Australia in 2001 and first operated in Belfast where MOON was known as ‘Down Runner’. She joined Thames Clippers in 2005. “Her wheel box was lowered in 2012 so that she could navigate the low-lying bridges to the west of their route more easily.” The coloured stripe on her bow is violet.

SUN Clipper

Built by NQEA, Australia in 2001, and also first serving in Belfast, SUN was known as ‘Antrim Runner’. She joined the Clipper fleet in 2005. The wheelhouses of both MOON and SUN are in the bow of each vessel. Her individual bow stripe is yellow.

TORNADO Clipper

TORNADO Clipper was built by Brisbane Ship Construction in Australia and joined the fleet in 2007. Her bow stripe is a minty green.

TYPHOON Clipper

TYPHOON Clipper, also built by Brisbane Ship Construction was the first ‘River Runner’ to join the fleet in 2007. And “as a result, our six River Runner 200 Mk IIB vessels are often referred to as ‘Typhoon Class’.” Her bow stripe is purple.

Hunt Clippers
Are named after “long serving engineer Clive Hunt, who worked on many builds including both GALAXY and NEPTUNE Clippers, before losing his battle with cancer.
‘Hunt Class’ clippers have been specially designed to navigate the shallower waters and low-lying bridges to the west of their route along the river, which ends at Putney Pier. Built by Incat, Australia, renowned for the construction of high speed, lightweight catamarans, GALAXY and NEPTUNE were the first ‘Hunt Class’ vessels of the fleet.

GALAXY Clipper
NEPTUNE Clipper

“GALAXY Clipper and her sister NEPTUNE Clipper […] were loaded onto a cargo ship for the 10,000 mile journey to the UK. When they arrived in 2015, Tower Bridge was raised so that they could be welcomed onto the Thames in central London.” See here the excellent film on their departure from Incat. GALAXY’s Bow has a yellow stripe and NEPTUNE’s has a purple stripe.

JUPITER Clipper

JUPITER Clipper, and her sister MERCURY were built by Wight Shipyard on the Isle of Wight and sailed from there to London, a distance of about 200 nautical miles. Jennifer Edwards wrote in 2017 how “travelling along the English coast, the boats would sail past landmarks including Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays, Brighton Pier and the White Cliffs of Dover to their home at Trinity Buoy Wharf in East London.” She explains how “Six members of crew – with over 80 years of combined experience between them” would undertake the 12 hour journey, at an average speed of 20 knots.
JUPITER’s emblematic bow colour is gold and MERCURY’s is silver.

MERCURY Clipper
VENUS Clipper

VENUS Clipper is the flagship of the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers fleet. She was built by Wight Shipyard in the Isle of Wight and joined the fleet in 2019 in time for the company’s 20th anniversary.
Her chosen colour is emerald green to reflect her ‘green’ credentials, being the fleet’s most ecologically advanced vessel to date.

Extra clippers

COMET Clipper

Launched in September 2020, COMET Clipper is part of an integrated system for “small scale freight transport.” Ian Wilson, Chief Executive of DHL Express UK & I, says: “This new and unique service, combining electric vehicles, riverboat and last-mile bikes creates fast and efficient access across the capital.” This is yet another measure reducing the volume of traffic and pollution in central London.

ORION Clipper

ORION Clipper is a fast, smart, private, executive launch that can be chartered for special occasions or luxury transfers. Ben @liquid_highway1 tells me that “She was originally called H2O&M, renamed OGILVY & MATHER, and changed again to OGILVY by 2005.” An impressive speedboat, she could reach Canary Wharf from the Embankment in fifteen minutes. Ben adds, “Thames Clippers bought her about 3 years ago, overhauled her and renamed her ORION Clipper.”

TWIN STAR Clipper

In service as a ferry for over forty years TWINSTAR Clipper began by carrying staff between the Ford Dagenham factory and Belvedere. She now carries hotel guests, visitors and commuters between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe.

The clippers are very active over their stretch of the Thames, so if you’re walking along the banks of the river in central London, you are bound to see at least one, if not more. And better still, as life is getting back to normal, treat yourself to a trip on the river. You’ll see the centre of London from a totally different perspective.

Further Information and sources
Discover routes and ticket information on Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, details of private hire for social or corporate events, and up-to-date Covid guidance and measures taken on the fleet.

Liquid Highway is the leading resource for the latest news on the River Thames. You can see their extensive photo gallery here.
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If you would like to experience a journey from a few years back, see ‘Inside Thames Clippers’. Sean Collins interviewed by Alastair Greener in 2013.

Evening Standard Magazine: ‘A Day in the life of the River Thames: 24 hours spent on its waters’ by Frankie McCoy, July 18, 2019.

South Bank London: ‘New Addition to Thames Clippers’ by Jennifer Edwards, June 23, 20



Thames Clippers 1

A personal record …

…from my photo archives of Thames Clipper pictures taken before the pandemic. As you’ll see, they are all marked with the MBNA bank company logo, which had a sponsorship deal with Thames Clippers that lasted until June 2020. Their new partnership is with Uber and the vessels are now known as “Uber Boat by Thames Clippers”. Though they have been repainted with the Uber logo, their names have remained the same.
The picture above is of AURORA Clipper, who joined the fleet in 2008 and the following images, are in alphabetical order with the date they joined the fleet. Apart from COMET, only transporting packages, and ORION only available for private hire, all clippers are part of the public Thames river bus passenger service.
Many of you will have boarded a clipper for a sightseeing trip, or regularly to your workplace. Some of you will have served as crew, some worked as guides talking about the famous London landmarks on the route, and some will have skippered these vessels along this tricky central London section of the Thames with its many bridges, fast-flowing tides and particular currents, all of which need to be thoroughly learnt.

COMET Clipper joined the fleet in 2019 to carry parcels from Wandsworth Riverside to Bankside Pier
CYCLONE Clipper joined the fleet in 2007
GALAXY Clipper joined the fleet in 2015
HURRICANE Clipper joined the fleet in 2001
JUPITER Clipper joined the fleet in 2017
MERCURY Clipper joined the fleet in 2017
METEOR Clipper joined the fleet in 2008
MONSOON Clipper joined the fleet in 2007
MOON Clipper joined the fleet in 2005
NEPTUNE clipper joined the fleet in 2015
ORION Clipper, executive launch for private hire, joined the fleet in 2016
SKY Clipper joined the fleet in 1999
STAR Clipper joined the fleet in 1999
STORM Clipper joined the fleet in 1999
SUN clipper joined the fleet in 2005
TORNADO Clipper joined the fleet in 2007
TWIN STAR, the former Ford Dagenham ferry joined the fleet in 2004
TYPHOON Clipper joined the fleet in 2007
VENUS Clipper joined the fleet in 2019
Looking downstream at the Tower of London, HMS BELFAST, and Tower Bridge from Clipper

In the next article I will post pictures of the clippers in their new livery and list the fleet by category, giving more detail about individual craft.

Further Information
Article in Ship Technology ’40 Million up…’, December 14, 20 18.
Transport for London ‘About River Bus’
Uber boat by Thames Clippers for full information on ticketing and timetables.

From Chelsea to Richmond…

Further etchings from London’s Bridges by J. H. Herring, 1884 with recent photographs and a few random notes…

The bridge above, a toll bridge, was opened by Queen Victoria in 1858 and named after her. However, Zoe Craig writes that “its name was soon changed to Chelsea Bridge” suggesting that as it was “narrow and structurally unsound it might have been renamed to avoid any associations with the Queen should it collapse.”

Chelsea Bridge, built in 1937 to replace the first bridge, which had become unsafe

As you may have noticed, not all London’s present Thames bridges are included in this collection as a number of them had not yet been built at the time Herring made his sketches. Tower Bridge, not opened until ten years later on June 30th, 1894 is the most famous of the *missing* bridges.

Albert Bridge, by J. H. Herring, built in 1873 and named after the Prince Consort
Albert Bridge, which has undergone a number of alterations since it was built, now has a weight limit of two tons
Old Battersea Bridge, by J. H. Herring, built of timber in 1771
Battersea Bridge, designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette and opened in 1890
Old Wandsworth Bridge, by J. H. Herring, built in 1873
ZEEHOND tug coming under Wandsworth Bridge, designed by Sir Peirson Frank, built in 1940. ©Wal Daly-Smith
Old Putney Bridge, by J. H. Herring, built in 1729
Putney Bridge, built in 1886 ©Wal Daly-Smith

The start of the Oxford v. Cambridge Boat Race has traditionally been just upstream from Putney Bridge and ends just before Chiswick Bridge. However, the 2020 race was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic and this year took place on a rather less navigationally challenging course along the river Ouse in Cambridgeshire.
The race has always drawn big crowds and normally takes place each year around Easter time. On one memorable occasion reported in The Times, at the end of March 1912, “Both boats sank owing to the roughness of the water, Cambridge early in the race, off Harrod’s Wharf, while Oxford struggled as far as Chiswick Eyot”, where they emptied their boat and completed the course. However, much of Oxford’s annoyance, the umpire would not allow the result to stand and the race was rowed again two days later. The Oxford crew won by six lengths.

Hammersmith Bridge, by J. H. Herring, built in 1827
Hammersmith Bridge replacing the first, was designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette and opened in 1887

Waterman and Lighterman Eric Carpenter, who helped me with an earlier article on Herring’s drawings, remarks that “Hammersmith Bridge is quite low, and was a problem for tugs taking barges up to Brentford Dock, if they were late up on a spring tide”. He remembers when commercial traffic still travelled up that way “Many tugs on the Brentford run had open wheelhouses, or wheelhouses that could be dismantled” so were able to cope with the height limitations.

And now there’s a more serious problem at Hammersmith Bridge. At the time of writing all passages under the bridge have been cancelled apart from pre-arranged transits on Sundays, and even these are liable to cancellation should any of the movement alarms be sounding. According to Dorenda and Gordon of Hotel Boat Kailani, this has now been changed so that “boats are able to pass under the bridge on any day, giving at least 72 hours notice”.
There are difficulties too for road traffic. Much to the irritation and inconvenience of local residents, and others usually crossing the Thames there, the bridge has been closed to traffic for two years. A group called HammersmithBridgeSOS is campaigning “for the urgent reinstatement of the crossing”.

Barnes Bridge, by J. H. Herring, built in 1849
Barnes Railway Bridge, opened in 1895
Strand on the Green, now known as Kew Railway Bridge, by J. H. Herring, opened in 1869
Kew railway Bridge, built in 1869. To the right, a glimpse of the famous Bull’s Head Pub
Kew Bridge, by J. H. Herring, built in 1759
The modern Kew Bridge, built 1903
Richmond Railway Bridge, by J. H. Herring, built in 1848
The modern Richmond Railway Bridge opened in 1908. ©Benmeg, 2015
Richmond Bridge, by J. H. Herring, built in 1777
Richmond Bridge, built in 1777 ©Ruth Wadey

Sources and further information
Zoe Craig: article in The Londonist on Chelsea Bridge.
J. H. Herring: London’s Bridges from London to Hampton Court; London, 1884
Hotel Boat Kailani
Port of London Authority: Thames Bridges

With thanks to the following for their help and for lending their photographs:
Benmeg for the Richmond Railway Bridge photo, 2015.
Waterman and Lighterman Eric Carpenter
Wal Daly-Smith, Director of Thames Ranger Marine Service. See his Views From the River
Artist, photographer and BBC Weather Watcher Ruth Wadey

From then to now…

Etchings of London’s Bridges by J. H. Herring, 1884, together with recent photographs.

Both pictures feature London Bridge and Cannon Street Railway Bridge beyond. The photo also shows elements of Southwark Bridge, the Millennium footbridge and the Blackfriars Bridges.

Returning to the subject of central London’s Thames’ bridges where in an earlier post I quoted from J. H. Herring’s book: Thames Bridges from London to Hampton Court, published in 1884, I am now sharing some of his etchings, along with roughly equivalent views from my photo archives.

Cannon Street Railway Bridge, originally constructed in 1866. After two later re-buildings, the bridge below was built by British Railways in 1981
Cannon street Station and Railway Bridge today

From the earliest days, bridges have imposed difficulties on navigation. And the historic London Bridge, the city’s only Thames bridge for centuries was no exception. Sarah Morris writes in ‘Old London Bridge in the Sixteenth Century’ that its nineteen narrow arches effectively caused artificial rapids between the two sides of the bridge “that were highly dangerous to navigate {…] Sailing a boat between the pillars was called shooting the bridge”.
Though today’s navigational problems on the river are not as hazardous as then due to safety measures, there are still dangers and much to be learnt by professionals studying for official qualifications. In 2007 a national Boatmasters Licence was created by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency to replace the former Watermen and Lightermen’s Licence, and one addition to this for the Thames, is the Port of London Authority’s Local Knowledge Endorsement which applies to the river from Margaretness to Putney Bridge, and necessary for anyone holding a national Boatmasters Licence navigating in this area.
Someone with expert local knowledge is Waterman and Lighterman Eric Carpenter, who worked for fifty years on the Thames and surrounding waterways. Further on he kindly gives me insight into difficulties navigating some of the central London bridges. Also adding notes of their experience are Vic Clarke, who sailed up the Thames from Blyth on collier SS Hudson Firth, delivering coal to London power stations in the 1960s, and Wal Daly-Smith, whose life has been bound up with the Thames for both work and pleasure since boyhood.

Southwark Bridge built in 1819
Southwark Bridge built in 1921, this year being its 100th anniversary.

Though he can’t recall exactly which bridges, Vic Clarke remembers “a couple of times being on the keel at low tide. It was dependant on where we berthed. I can remember, along with a couple of senior seaman lowering masts at some point. There were no electric winches on the “Firth” just old steam winches. These times were just noise and activity with the Bosun shouting orders above the steam Jennys. I realise now how we must have been limited to where we discharged our load due to low bridges, and that’s where the ‘flat-irons’ came in.” The masts and funnels of these specially designed colliers telescoped into the hull allowing them to pass under all the bridges to the power stations upstream.

Blackfriars Bridge, built in 1869. On the left a statue of François 1 of France on horseback, and in the centre, St. Paul’s cathedral
Blackfriars Bridge at night

Wal Daly-Smith says that for him, “passing through Blackfriars bridges on a near high tide with a strong wind can be challenging! It gets very choppy in that area.” Having looked down into the turbulent waters racing beneath, I can understand that.

Waterloo Bridge built in 1817, and further on, the Charing Cross Railway Bridge. Beyond is the Queen Elizabeth Tower, known throughout the world as Big Ben
Looking downstream from Westminster to Waterloo Bridge, which was built during the 2nd World War and opened in 1945

Eric Carpenter who worked for Cory Waste Management at Charlton from 1984 until his retirement in 2008, explains that extra care is needed to navigate bridges positioned on bends in the river. Coming upstream, “the tide wants to flow in a straight line, so when it coms to a bend, it ‘sets’ into the bend and consequently takes the tow with it.”
Eric says “The first bridge that comes to mind is Waterloo Bridge. On the flood, the tide sets towards the north shore, so not too much of a problem because the arch is quite wide.” He adds that “the tide sets to the north shore of the Hungerford Railway Bridge as well.”

Charing Cross Railway Bridge with Waterloo Bridge, the Lion Brewery, with its famous lion, shot tower and St. Paul’s cathedral beyond
Hungerford Railway Bridge, the view now partially obscured by the Jubilee Bridges, built in 2000
Westminster Bridge, built 1862, and the Palace of Westminster.
Westminster Bridge with Parliament before the renovations now taking place

Eric explains that “the concern with Westminster Bridge is its small arches, so there it’s important to line correctly. Extra care is needed when towing craft with empty containers when the weather is windy.” Something he was only too aware of when towing Cory barges. So the sets, the direction towards which the current is flowing, have to be learned and “obviously on the ebb tide, they are in reverse”.

The first Lambeth Bridge, opened in 1862 with Lambeth Palace on the right
The present day Lambeth Bridge, opened in 1932

A parliamentary Select Committee on the Embankment of the Thames, dated June 1840, went into some detail over the various problems of navigation at the time. There are minuted reports of interviews which bring to life enterprises, such as the rebuilding of Parliament destroyed by fire in 1834 involving the construction of a cofferdam and its effect on the river; trade such as the importation of coal; all kinds of commerce; and a real glimpse into what working on the Thames was actually like.
There are details of problems with “the shoaly state of the river”; the effect of the removal of London Bridge “occasioning an earlier flood tide and a longer flood tide”; and constant complaints about the “noxious state of the mud” into which London’s waste flowed freely. This last problem was not to be addressed until “the great stink of 1858” made working in the Palace of Westminster, and elsewhere along the river, quite impossible. It was Sir Joseph Bazalgette who finally achieved the building of a sewer system for London in 1875, which has served the city well, only now being replaced by the Tideway ‘super sewer’ at present under construction.
Among the witnesses called in were: John May, Master of iron steam-boat, the Moonlight; James Covell, Master of the Woolwich steam-boat the Naiad; William Dennis, Waterman for over forty years; and William Gillet, Captain of an ‘iron boat’, called The Bachelor. When questioned, on the state of the river, Gillet replied:
“There is a great deal of inconvenience at low water time; the river is very shallow at places between Westminster and Waterloo Bridge.”
When asked on his opinion as to the construction of an embankment on each side of the river he said ” It would cause a great run of the tide; and it would cause more water in the river; and it would cause more race of the tide.” He added when questioned further, that dredging and deepening the river would make it more navigable, provided the dredged material was actually removed. When asked if his vessels had ‘received any injury’, he told the Committee that “They have very often got aground near Westminster Bridge; and we have been aground in some other parts.”
The collection of first-hand accounts in these reports, in the witnesses’ own words, recreate a bygone age, parts of which would, I imagine, still be familiar to those working on the river today.

Vauxhall Bridge built in 1816 was the first iron bridge to be built across the Thames
The present Vauxhall Bridge, opened in 1906

To end: An interesting and engaging short interview with experienced Thames Lighterman Bob Harris, explaining in the second half of this piece, the difficulties of navigating Vauxhall Bridge. It was posted on Youtube by @LiquidHighway

Sources and further information
The Liquid Highway, is the leading River Thames resource for news, info, and the world’s largest Thames vessel photo gallery.
Londontopia: Laura Porter’s article ‘A history of London’s 35 Bridges over the Thames.’, with pictures, dates & interesting facts.
The Londonist: ‘How London’s Thames Bridges got their names.’
Port of London Authority: ‘Thames Bridge Heights’ – Bridge clearances.
Steven Szymanski, @itsthebridgeman
Thames Bridges Port of London Authority.
The Tudor Travel Guide ‘A Brief History of Old London Bridge’ by Sarah Morris.
Reports from Committees, Volume 9, Metropolis Improvements […] Thames Embankment …

Thanks to:
Eric Carpenter, Vic Clarke and Wal Daly-Smith for their help.