The Way To The Sea - Granta Magazine

Excerpt

The Way To The Sea

Caroline Crampton

£16.99

The following is an excerpt from The Way to the Sea: The Forgotten Histories of the Thames Estuary by Caroline Crampton. As one of the key entrances and exits to England, the estuary has been pivotal to London's economic fortunes and in defining its place in the world. It has also been the entry point for immigrants for generations, yet it has an ambivalent relationship with newcomers, and UKIP's popularity in the area is on the rise. As Caroline navigates the waters of the estuary, she also seeks out its stories: empty warehouses and arsenals; the Thames barrier, which guards the safety of Londoners more precariously than we might; shipwrecks still inhabited by the ghosts of the drowned; vast Victorian pumping stations which continue to carry away the capital's sewage; the riverbanks, layered with archaeological Anglo-Saxon treasures; literature inspired by its landscape; beacons used for centuries to guide boats through its dark and murky waterways; the eerie Maunsell army forts – twenty-four-metre high towers of concrete and steel which were built on concealed sandbanks at the far reaches of the estuary during the Second World War and designed to spot (and shoot) at incoming enemy planes; and the estuary's wildlife and shifting tidal moods. The Way to the Sea is available now from Granta Books.

Caroline Crampton

Caroline Crampton is a writer and editor who contributes regularly to the Guardian, the Mail on Sunday and the New Humanist. She has appeared as a broadcaster on Newsnight, Sky News and BBC Radio 4.

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[A] praise-hymn to the muddy, marshy far reaches of the river... captivating

Rose George, New Statesman

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