Caroline Crampton was born on the Thames Estuary to parents who had sailed there from South Africa in the early 1980s. Having grown up with seafaring legs and a desire to explore, Caroline is both a knowledgeable guide to the most hidden-away parts of this overlooked and unfashionable part of the country, and a persuasive advocate for its significance, both historically and culturally. 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 … More

Will Ashon’s debut novel Clear Water concerns a shopping centre lying close to the Thames estuary in Kent. The centre descends 400 metres below sea level and has a sinister black space-shuttle decorated with a woman in a white ballgown on its trunk. The shuttle is designed to defend Clearwater (and potentially the whole of London) from attack but, instead, it makes the shopping centre a place of almost occult attraction to six strange but beguiling characters, ranging from an alcoholic ex-spin bowler to a murderous psychopath who has named himself King James.

The most immediately attractive of Ashon’s cast is Peter Jones, “the premier lifestyle journalist of his generation”, who has generated … More