The Thames has dominated the south of England, its settlement, economics and politics, for over 2000 years. Its 215-mile story, from Thames Head in Gloucestershire via Lechlade, Oxford, Henley, Cookham, Windsor, Richmond, Westminster, the City, Docklands and out to the open sea, is a story of England. Indeed it has been described by the historian John Burns as ‘liquid history’.

All society has braved the quick tides and currents of the Thames: delicate aristocrats, prominent politicians and watermen, pleasure oarswomen and criminals, hopeful anglers and scold-duckers, bathers and energetic rowing teams, weary Roman soldiers and beribboned wanderers, giddy school children and salty seamen, all have known the thrill of the Thames voyage replete with its peculiar murky odor, and silvery shimmering reflections. We will take our equally intrepid Inscape Zoom ‘journey’ down England’s Great River – from the source to the sea, from prehistoric times to the present, while considering the paintings, poems and music created by those bewitched by its magic, mysteries and myths.

We will travel its currents inspired by its poetry and prose, gliding beneath and past its bridges and auxiliary buildings – each worthy of praise as feats of architecture and engineering. We will see wondrous works by artists who employed the full range of their talents to represent its daily and seasonal light, atmospheric mists, and its bustling activity: Turner, Constable, Canaletto, Scott, Whistler, Grimshaw, Monet and Pissarro. We will hear the words of the classic wordsmiths, Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, William Wordsworth, Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, William Morris, Kenneth Grahame, Jerome K Jerome, and more modern voices who eloquently expressed its power. Classical composers Elgar, Handel, Butterworth, Vaughan Williams and John Ireland composed brilliant music reflecting its constant yet volatile nature. Ten thousand Thames watermen sang of its vitality in a flood of folk songs. Nowhere do these creative figures expend their skills on a more alluring or more difficult subject than on the turbulent Thames.

Please join us for a summer of refreshment on this iconic river that has so dominated our collective imagination and personal experience of southern England.

‘Rivers are not like roads, the work of the hand of man; they imitate mind, which wanders at will over pathless deserts, and flows through nature’s loveliest recesses’ Shelley

Booking Information:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

This course, taught by Nicholas Friend, Director of Inscape, begins on Tuesday 3 August 11 am, repeating on Thursdays at 4 pm until Thursday 30 September.

You may choose to attend all Tuesdays or Thursdays, or any mixture of these, subject to availability. You may also choose to attend individual sessions. If you would like to attend but cannot manage a particular date, then we will be sending recordings of every session to all participants. Each session meets from 20 minutes before the advertised time of the lecture, and each lecture lasts roughly one hour, with around 15 minutes discussion.

Cost: £315 members or £360 non-members for the course of 9 sessions or £40 members or £45 non-members per individual session. All sessions are limited to 23 participants to permit discussion.

Due to the coronavirus cheques are not a viable option at this time. Instead, please make your payment to Friend&Friend Ltd by bank transfer to our account with Metrobank, bank sort code 23-05-80, account number 13291721 or via PayPal to, or credit/debit card by phone to Henrietta on 07940 719397. She is available Tuesdays 10-12 and 2 – 3 pm or Thursdays 2-4 pm.

How to Set Up a PayPal account::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Click on this link:

In the upper right-hand corner of the screen, click “Sign up.”

On the following screen choose “Personal account” and click “Next.”

On the next page, you’ll be asked to enter your name, email address and to create and confirm a password. When finished, click “Next.”

Click “Agree and create account” and your PayPal account will be created.

How to Connect your Bank Account to your PayPal account:::::::::::::::::::::::

Log on to your account and click the “Wallet” option in the menu bar running along the top of the screen.

On the menu running down the left side of the screen, click the “Link a credit or debit card”.

Enter the card information you wish to link to your PayPal account and click “Link card” for debit card.

How to Send Money::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Log on to your account. Click Send & Request.

Enter the email address of the person you wish to send money to:

Type in the amount you wish to send, click continue then press ‘Send Money Now’.