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The World's Most Beautiful Waterways, England 2: The River Thames cover image

The World's Most Beautiful Waterways, England 2: The River Thames 2001


Distributed by Chip Taylor Communications, 2 East View Drive, Derry, NH 03038-4812; 800-876-CHIP (2447)
Produced by Video Active, Ltd.
Director n/a
VHS, color, 75 min.

Jr. High - Adult
Travel and Tourism

Date Entered: 11/09/2018

Reviewed by Gloria Maxwell, Reference Librarian, Penn Valley Community College,Kansas City, MO

It is no exaggeration to call the River Thames one of the world’s most beautiful waterways. It is also one of the most captivating ways to see the scenery, historical landmarks, ancient sites, and modern structures that line the riverbanks of the Thames. This particular video is divided into three parts, starting with the upper Thames above Lechlade. Our journey takes us through quaint villages and towns, past sites of ancient battles, through Oxford and onto Reading. Swans and boaters vie with the English countryside, as the river gently flows on to Henley and from there to Richmond. Manor houses and abbeys are visible from the boat, as are Windsor Castle, Hampton Court and Eton College. Some bridges are noteworthy—one for being the oldest one on the Thames—others for being battle sites. Snippets of interesting history lace the usual travelogue dialogue of names — such as the fact that William Morris shared not only his property and manor, but also his wife; and how Richard III’s actions made one abbey the richest in England. At the Beale Park Wildlife Trust, a sanctuary for animals provides them with the freedom to come and go as they like. As the journey down the Thames continues, we pass pubs and restaurants and the home of Kenneth Graham, author of The Wind in the Willows. At Maple Durham, we see a mill that has been grinding corn since before the Norman Conquest.

The second part of the video covers the route from Reading to Henley to Windsor and finally to Richmond. Henley is the town most identified with the Thames, after London, and is considered the most important rest stop along the route. On this leg of the journey, we see the white posts that mark the Henley Regatta course, an event that did not originally allow tradesmen to participate but which now attracts rowers from all over the world. Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in England and the approach from the Thames is nothing less than stellar. The ghosts of two of Henry VIII’s wives supposedly haunt Hampton Palace. Arriving at Richmond, we see the essence of Old England in its Richmond Park.

The third, and last, portion of our river journey takes the viewer past Brentford and London to the final stop at the Thames Barrier. In this segment we see the botanical garden at Kew and the magnificent sights of London itself: the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and Tower Bridge, to name only a few of the more prominent landmarks. Three famous pubs are visible along the lower port: the Angel, frequented by Samuel Pepys; The Mayflower; and The Prospect of Witby, where Whistler and Turner painted from its veranda. Finally, our river journey ends with more modern attractions such as the London Eye, the Tate Modern, and the Millennium Dome. Soft and pleasant music augments the visual images that are presented in a smooth and flowing style. The pacing is seemingly unhurried, yet moves forward at a steady rate that never drags. David Suchet (star of Poirot) is a most suitable narrator for this leisurely trip by boat, introducing information and commentary that enhances the viewer’s journey. The River Thames serves as a mellifluous backdrop to a scenic trip past some of England’s most beautiful and historic sites.

Recommended for all video travel collections. Audience: Jr. Hi. – Adult.