Chiswick Pier Trust works to engage Londoners with the River Thames, and every year puts on on a season of talks inspired by the history and ecology of the Thames. During our previous season, for example, we learned that Georgian artist and Chiswick resident Johann Zoffany may have practiced cannibalism, Brentford High Street was labelled the ‘worst public road in Europe’ as far back as 1754, and that Barnes is the home of modern football. This season’s line up is no less eclectic and covers a wide array of subjects from breweries and bridges, to Monet and molluscs.
‘River of Beer: the Thames and its many Breweries’ – Tuesday, 26 September, 7:30pm:
Beer historian Martyn Cornell looks at the important role the Thames has played in the history of brewing in Britain, the many once famous breweries that grew up alongside the river and the classic beer styles invented and brewed on its banks including Porter and IPA. Following the talk, there will be a chance to taste some of the best beer still brewed by the Thames courtesy of Fuller’s and Head Brewer Georgina Young.
‘Monet and the Thames’ – Monday, 30 October, 7:30pm
French impressionist Monet was fascinated with the Thames and painted it many times. The National Gallery’s Matthew Morgan joins us for an illustrated talk on the great artist, his bond with our great river and his love of London fog. A major exhibition of Monet’s work arrives at the National Gallery shortly after this talk in early 2018.
‘Frost Fairs on the Thames’ – Tuesday, 28 November, 7:30pm
The Thames froze solid at least seven times between 1309 and 1813, and the ice was thick enough to support a full-blown fair. Hazel Forsyth of the Museum of London presents the history and paintings of these ‘Frost Fairs’ and describes the final Frost Fair of 1814 when an elephant was led across the ice by Blackfriars Bridge.
‘Unbuilt London: the dreams and schemes that didn’t get past the planners’ – Tuesday, 30 January, 7:30pm
Author Matt Brown takes us through the mad masterplans and barmy blueprints of the bridges and buildings that were almost built along the Thames. From a stone pyramid in Trafalgar Square, to a floating lido on the river, and a glass bridge at Vauxhall complete with ice-rink, Matt offers an alternative vision of the London that could have been.
‘London’s Bridges – why, where and who? ’ – Tuesday, 27 February, 7:30pm
The bridges of the Thames stitch the North and South together and form the architectural backbone of our Capital. Author Chris Brown tells us the story of why and how the bridges were built where they were, the impact they had on local neighbourhoods, and the incidents that have occurred on them. For example, how did a hairdresser save Hammersmith Bridge? Who was assassinated on Waterloo Bridge? And which poet saved Albert Bridge?
‘A Trip to the Foreshore’ – Tuesday, 27 March, 7:30pm
Peer into the depths of the Thames and you will discover that it is teaming with fascinating wildlife. Zoologist Brenna Boyle of ‘Wild Capital’, takes us for a virtual trip to the foreshore and show us the wildlife we can encounter right on our doorstep. From molluscs and crustaceans, to some very surprising species of fish and mammal!
All events take place at Pier House, Chiswick Pier, Corney Reach Estate, Chiswick, London W4 2UG. Talks are £3 or free to members.