Thamesgate Panoramas

I’ve been busy over the past month or two working on a new book, which a couple of days ago I decided to give the title ‘Thamesgate Panoramas: South of the River‘. It includes 38 panoramas that I took in a number of visits to the area between Woolwich and Gravesend (and a little further at each end) on the River Thames and its estuary between May 2000 and February 2001.

The area is part of the huge area out to the east of London which makes up the Thames Gateway, the regeneration of which has been a national priority since 1994.  Of course I didn’t know that when I first started going there to take photographs in the early 1980s attracted by several things, but it was clear then that things would change.

I’d read about the area before I went there. In a slim geography booklet I’d picked up remaindered somewhere for 10p, Lower Thameside by Roy Millward & Adrian Robinson, a part of  their ‘South East England: Thameside and the Weald’, published in the Landscapes of Britain series in 1971. And in a much older work I’d found in our local library, where the over-enthusiastic author of ‘A Pilgrimage of the Thames‘ (1932), Donald Maxwell says that when the cement industry has left the quarry-scarred landscape ‘will be called the Switzerland of England.’

© 2000, Peter Marshall
A page from the PDF version of the book

The main feature of the landscape is of course the River Thames and it features in many of the pictures, all of which are double-page spreads on the 10×8″ landscape format book.

I’ve made it available both as a print version and as a PDF. The PDF is better and considerably cheaper at £4.49 rather than the £26.99 for the printed book, the image quality is slightly better and you get a download link straight away rather than having to pay Blurb’s exorbitant postage rates and wait around 10 days. A slightly different version of the PDF is also available direct from me at the same price.

There is a preview of around half the book available on Blurb and embedded here.

All the images in the book are double-page spreads, and Blurb doesn’t handle these too well, though I think they all look pretty good. But they are almost perfect if you set up your Adobe reader to read the double pages – only almost because Blurb does put a dotted line in to show the join of the pages.*

With the books being printed on demand, printing takes place on different printers and there seem to be slight alignment differences – so even if you adjust things correct to the nearest pixel from a proof copy, they won’t be quite spot on in the next copy printed. There is also the problem that if you get it right for the print version it will be wrong for the PDF, and I would have to have two versions of the book, one for print and one for PDF.

This is the first Blurb book that I’ve produced using InDesign rather than Blurb’s BookSmart, and it was some time (and several software versions) since I’d used it. BookSmart does a great job and is free, but there are advantages to InDesign, and the Blurb templates available for it make it fairly simple to use, if not as straightforward as BookSmart.

© 2000, Peter Marshall
Northfleet, 2000

© 2012, Peter Marshall
Northfleet, 2013

The two pictures above were taken from almost exactly the same point, but around twelve and a half years apart. The upper one was made with a swing lens panoramic camera and the lower – which I took on New Year’s Day – by stitching 3 digital images with the 16-35mm on the D800. They have roughly the same horizontal angle of view, but the swing lens camera has a focal length of around 26mm and gives less vertical coverage.

People have asked me about the title ‘Thamesgate’. It seemed an obvious contraction for ‘Thames Gateway’ as well as one that reflected a certain ambivalence I felt about the area and what has happened there over the years. And although there is a shopping centre of the same name in Gravesend and a few other things, it is unusual and should make the book easier to find in searches on Blurb and elsewhere.


*I supply my own PDF without the dividing line.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated are by Peter Marshall and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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One Response to “Thamesgate Panoramas”

  1. […] – at least for me – is urban landscape, and you can see some examples in ‘Thamesgate Panoramas‘ and on the Urban Landscapes site – as well as in […]

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