87 books like The History of the Port of London

By Peter Stone,

Here are 87 books that The History of the Port of London fans have personally recommended if you like The History of the Port of London. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of London's Docklands: A History of the Lost Quarter

Margarette Lincoln Author Of Trading in War: London's Maritime World in the Age of Cook and Nelson

From my list on maritime London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was formerly Deputy Director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and am now a visiting fellow at the University of Portsmouth. I can safely say that I have spent some years of my life walking along the River Thames. The fascinating thing about maritime London is that our understanding of it is always advancing and changing – much like the riverscape itself.

Margarette's book list on maritime London

Margarette Lincoln Why did Margarette love this book?

This book is carefully researched and gives fascinating insights into the area around London’s docks. Rule begins her account in Roman times and takes the story through into the twenty-first century. She is committed to explaining how London’s docks, which employed around 100,000 men some sixty years ago, could so quickly have been swept away, and she shows huge sympathy for the people who lived and worked in the area. What I especially like is the range of sources she uses, from archaeological records to personal interviews.

By Fiona Rule,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked London's Docklands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you remember the docks?

In its heyday, the Port of London was the biggest in the world. It was a sprawling network of quays, wharves, canals and basins, providing employment for over 100,000 people. From the dockworker to the prostitute, the Romans to the Republic of the Isle of Dogs, London's docklands have always been a key part of the city.

But it wasn't to last. They might have recovered from the devastating bombing raids of the Second World War - but it was the advent of the container ships, too big to fit down the Thames, that would…


Book cover of Dockland Life: A Pictorial History of London’s Docks 1860–2000

Margarette Lincoln Author Of Trading in War: London's Maritime World in the Age of Cook and Nelson

From my list on maritime London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was formerly Deputy Director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and am now a visiting fellow at the University of Portsmouth. I can safely say that I have spent some years of my life walking along the River Thames. The fascinating thing about maritime London is that our understanding of it is always advancing and changing – much like the riverscape itself.

Margarette's book list on maritime London

Margarette Lincoln Why did Margarette love this book?

This volume explores all the major aspects of the Port of London, from warehousing and ship repair to the quayside and dock trades. The 2000 edition takes the story right up to the redevelopment of what is now called London Docklands, including Canary Wharf and the Millennium Dome. The many well-chosen illustrations help to convey the drama and mystery of the docks but also the daily grind and danger of some of the work that went on there.

By Chris Ellmers, Alex Werner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dockland Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With a workforce of over 100,000 men, women and children and reaching out to all corners of the Earth, London's Docklands, formerly the Port of London, at one time formed the largest and most comprehensive system of docks the world has ever known. The Museum of Dockland, an independent branch of the Museum of London, is devoted to keeping its memory alive and has produced this illustrated volume to help do just that. It examines every aspect of the port: the working river and its various docks; where the ship repairs took place; the warehousing and construction; the quayside and…


Book cover of London and the Georgian Navy

Margarette Lincoln Author Of Trading in War: London's Maritime World in the Age of Cook and Nelson

From my list on maritime London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was formerly Deputy Director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and am now a visiting fellow at the University of Portsmouth. I can safely say that I have spent some years of my life walking along the River Thames. The fascinating thing about maritime London is that our understanding of it is always advancing and changing – much like the riverscape itself.

Margarette's book list on maritime London

Margarette Lincoln Why did Margarette love this book?

This book focuses on the myriad ways in which Georgian London and the Royal Navy were intertwined. Thousands of Londoners contributed to work that helped to keep the navy at sea; all understood that the navy protected maritime trade, on which London’s prosperity depended. MacDougall looks at bureaucratic links between the navy and the City, and at the practical business of supplying the fleet; he explores key geographical locations in detail and uncovers colourful personalities.

By Philip MacDougall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked London and the Georgian Navy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At a time when the Royal Navy was the biggest and best in the world, Georgian London was the hub of this immense industrial-military complex, underpinning and securing a global trading empire that was entirely dependent on the navy for its existence. Philip MacDougall explores the bureaucratic web that operated within the wider city area before giving attention to London's association with the practical aspects of supplying and manning the operational fleet and shipbuilding, repair and maintenance. His supremely detailed geographical exploration of these areas includes a discussion of captivating key personalities, buildings and work. The book examines significant locations…


Book cover of London's Sailortown, 1600-1800

Margarette Lincoln Author Of Trading in War: London's Maritime World in the Age of Cook and Nelson

From my list on maritime London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was formerly Deputy Director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and am now a visiting fellow at the University of Portsmouth. I can safely say that I have spent some years of my life walking along the River Thames. The fascinating thing about maritime London is that our understanding of it is always advancing and changing – much like the riverscape itself.

Margarette's book list on maritime London

Margarette Lincoln Why did Margarette love this book?

Morris and Cozens have written a series of books that look at the history of East London. These books are a rich resource for historians and offer many points of interest for general readers. In this volume they look at Shadwell and Ratcliff, and chiefly focus on the period between 1700 and 1800, analysing hundreds of archives including land tax records and insurance policies. Their research allows them to up-end the traditional view of a deprived East London to show that actually the population in this period was mixed and included many wealthy families.

By Ken Cozens, Derek Morris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked London's Sailortown, 1600-1800 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Shadow over Innsmouth

HP Newquist Author Of Behemoth

From my list on horror masterpieces from a horror writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated by scary movies, creature features, and books that tell tales of the strange and supernatural. Years later, my own books explored those things that scare us, from monsters of the deep and the ways we die to the mythology of blood. Research for those books led me into realms that explained why we fear the things we do. Many of those fears are found in horror novels, which provide an endless source of fright, release, and entertainment within their haunting pages. I can’t think of any other genre of writing that takes its readers on such a joyously terrifying ride.

HP's book list on horror masterpieces from a horror writer

HP Newquist Why did HP love this book?

No writer creates a compelling sense of dread better than H.P. Lovecraft. His stories instantly immerse you in whatever world he’s conjuring, and I think his writing reached its peak in this book.

His narrator descends into a creepy world of “others” whom he senses want to harm him (in his personal life, Lovecraft was notoriously disdainful of “others”). I was willingly dragged along with Lovecraft’s desperate narrator as he raced through town, hotel rooms, and ultimately into a terrifying gathering of the townspeople.

Nearly a century after its publication, I consider it to be one of the most timeless and striking pieces of horror ever created. 

By H P Lovecraft,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Shadow over Innsmouth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During the winter of 1927-28 officials of the Federal government made a strange and secret investigation of certain conditions in the ancient Massachusetts seaport of Innsmouth. The public first learned of it in February, when a vast series of raids and arrests occurred, followed by the deliberate burning and dynamiting-under suitable precautions-of an enormous number of crumbling, worm-eaten, and supposedly empty houses along the abandoned waterfront.


Book cover of Along the No. 20 Line

Daniel Francis Author Of Becoming Vancouver: A History

From my list on Vancouver history.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid growing up in Vancouver my parents had a collection of books arranged on shelves around the living room. The only one I remember taking down and actually reading was an early history of the city. I recalled being impressed by the simple fact that someone had thought my hometown was interesting enough to write about, not something that was self-evident to a cocky teenager. Many years later, some two dozen books of my own under my belt, I decided maybe I’d earned the right to take a crack at the city myself.

Daniel's book list on Vancouver history

Daniel Francis Why did Daniel love this book?

This unusual book is a tour through the working-class city in the middle of the last century. This is a portrait of Vancouver when working people occupied the waterfront, instead of glittering condo towers. Knight imagines taking a trip on the old No.20 streetcar that once ran the length of the city’s eastside waterfront, painting an evocative portrait of the mills, docks, flophouses, and beer parlours that occupied the strip. Then he turns the book over to a series of personal reminiscences from men and women who called the neighbourhood home. Vancouver prides itself today on being a world-class destination for the global super-rich. This is where it came from.

By Rolf Knight,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Along the No. 20 Line as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Along the No. 20 Line, Rolf Knight takes the reader on a tour through working class East Vancouver of a century ago.

Knight's "through line" is literally a line: the old No. 20 Streetcar Line that ran between downtown Vancouver and the present day neighbourhood of the Pacific National Exhibition. From 1892 to 1949, when it was shut down and replaced by the No. 20 Granville / Victoria Drive bus, the No. 20 line took thousands of Vancouverites back and forth from their East Van homes to their jobs along the waterfront, on the docks, in mills, factories and…


Book cover of Citadel of the Saxons: The Rise of Early London

Marc Morris Author Of The Anglo-Saxons: A History of the Beginnings of England

From my list on medieval Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell into medieval history from the moment I arrived at university, when I looked at a lecture list that included the Norman Conquest, King John and Magna Carta, Edward I – in short, the subjects of the books I have gone on to write. The attraction for me was that the medieval centuries were formative ones, shaping the countries of the British Isles and the identities of the people within them. After completing my doctorate on the thirteenth-century earls of Norfolk I was keen to broaden my horizons, and presented a TV series about castles, which was a great way to reconnect with the reality of the medieval past.

Marc's book list on medieval Britain

Marc Morris Why did Marc love this book?

In my own writing I’ve recently ventured into the Anglo-Saxon period, so I know how hard it is to conjure the history of these early medieval centuries from the meagre source material that survives. Rory Naismith manages this brilliantly in his highly engaging history of London in the centuries between the end of Roman Britain and the Norman Conquest. Naismith’s earlier books are on coins and coinage, but he does not allow his specialism to pull the book off balance. It’s a comparatively short volume, but it provides a comprehensive overview of the emerging capital, and it wears its considerable learning lightly.

By Rory Naismith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Citadel of the Saxons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With a past as deep and sinewy as the famous River Thames that twists like an eel around the jutting peninsula of Mudchute and the Isle of Dogs, London is one of the world's greatest and most resilient cities. Born beside the sludge and the silt of the meandering waterway that has always been its lifeblood, it has weathered invasion, flood, abandonment, fire and bombing. The modern story of London is well known. Much has been written about the later history of this megalopolis which, like a seductive dark star, has drawn incomers perpetually into its orbit. Yet, as Rory…


Book cover of Offshore

Jane McMorland Hunter Author Of Urban Nature Every Day: Discover the natural world on your doorstep

From my list on novels set by the River Thames in London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in London most of my life, and what I love most about it are the wild places, the spots where the city and nature rub shoulders. When reading fiction, ‘place’ matters a lot to me, and if I am familiar with the setting, I like it to be accurate. That said, I love a little fantasy to stretch the boundaries. As well as being a writer and editor, I have worked part-time in bookshops for over forty years, and during that time, I must have read hundreds of novels set in and around London. These are five of my absolute favourites.

Jane's book list on novels set by the River Thames in London

Jane McMorland Hunter Why did Jane love this book?

I have always liked the idea of living in a houseboat on the River Thames. This wonderful story simultaneously fed my fantasies and made me realise it might not be as idyllic as I imagined.

The houseboats on Battersea Reach are like a small village–each character is an individual yet integral part of the whole, their fortunes rising and falling with the tide. Through these characters, the book paints a picture of sixties London, swinging yet also unforgiving for those who slip between the cracks. Penelope Fitzgerald lived on a barge in Battersea, and I think much of the story is based on personal experience.

What I particularly liked was the sense of the houseboat dwellers not quite belonging, being offshore in more ways than one. 

By Penelope Fitzgerald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Offshore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE
FEATURED ON BBC'S BETWEEN THE COVERS BOOK CLUB

Penelope Fitzgerald's Booker Prize-winning novel of loneliness and connecting is set among the houseboat community of the Thames, with an introduction from Alan Hollinghurst.

On Battersea Reach, a mixed bag of the temporarily lost and the patently eccentric live on houseboats, rising and falling with the tide of the Thames.

There is good-natured Maurice, by occupation a male prostitute, by chance a receiver of stolen goods. And Richard, an ex-navy man whose boat, much like its owner, dominates the Reach. Then there is Nenna, an abandoned wife…


Book cover of Sweet Thames Run Softly

Richard Mayon-White Author Of Discovering London's Canals: On foot, by bike or by boat

From my list on the fascinating beauty of English waterways.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love rivers. The flow of water gives a sense of timelessness, the reflection of light from the surface brightens the colours on the banks and the wider stretches make a feeling of space. I have messed about in boats all my life and I am happiest on inland waterways. What I enjoyed as recreation alongside a medical career has grown into a vocation in my retirement. The more people who know about our beautiful rivers, the better the chances that we can protect them from exploitation and carelessness. 

Richard's book list on the fascinating beauty of English waterways

Richard Mayon-White Why did Richard love this book?

Sweet Thames Run Softly is a classic of natural history literature. 

It is reputed to have been read by British servicemen during World War II to remind them of home and peace. It is just as evocative today.  It describes a journey down the River Thames in a punt, and it meanders in the same way as the river does. 

The beauty lies in the text and the charm is in the author’s etchings. This is a book that I read time and again, whenever I want inspiration or solace.

By Robert Gibbings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sweet Thames Run Softly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, Robert Gibbings launched his home-made punt on the River Thames and began a slow journey downstream, armed with a sketchpad and a microscope. From the river's source at the edge of the Cotswold Hills to the bustle of London's docks, Sweet Thames Run Softly is a charming, often eccentric, account of an artist-naturalist adrift in English waters. First published as the Battle of Britain raged overhead, this gentle boating tale was an antidote to the anxieties of wartime and became an immediate best-seller. Our new edition includes the original engravings…


Book cover of Visco

Denise Baden Author Of Habitat Man

From my list on climate fiction to give you hope for our lovely planet.

Why am I passionate about this?

My day job is as a sustainability academic, so it’s hard to escape concern for our future and what we’re doing to our wonderful planet. I seek refuge in writing fiction. For me, if I can write the solutions, then maybe people will adopt them. But first and foremost, I love fiction as an escape, so I write and seek out books that make me happy and are filled with love and hope and exciting ideas to keep you turning the page. I also run the Green Stories project which hosts free writing competitions to help us imagine positive visions of a sustainable society.

Denise's book list on climate fiction to give you hope for our lovely planet

Denise Baden Why did Denise love this book?

We may have visions of what a sustainable society might look like, but how could we possibly get there?

This story imagines a giant music festival which allows free access to those who need care and their carers and designs a care-based mini-society. But they love it so much, no one wants to go home when the music stops. So they don’t!

David Fell brings to this novel all the knowledge he has gained in his years working as a sustainability consultant, and packages it with engaging characters and an exciting plot.

By David Fell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Visco as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jo Castle, Londoner and thirty-something firefighter, wants to save the world by being the opposite of Jack Reacher. She starts with care – care for her friends and family, care for community, care for the planet. Together with best friend Miranda, step-brother Mike and ex-boyfriend Robert, Jo turns a giant music festival on an island in the River Thames into the living city of Visco. Visco is a ‘carnival of care’, a radical experiment that challenges the very bedrock of capitalism. The story of its emergence, and how it overcomes the Establishment, is a ray of hope in dark times.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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