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Swin, Swale & Swatchway

"The tide made up very fast, and soon we weighed and started for Havengore over the sands, but the sight of a horse and cart crossing the entrance of the creek shewed us that we were too soon to get in; we therefore brought up again, and by-and-bye one of the light barges made a start and stood in under foresail and topsail. We weighed anchor, having about four feet of water, where we were on the flat to windward of the creek, and bearing up we ran down to the beacons, sounding as we went with the boat-hook, ready to run her off if the water shoaled too much, and standing by to flatten in the sheets as soon as the water deepened, and we reached the creek. The old barge had got into the channel between the beacons all right, but having little way on, and no mainsail set, she was all the time sagging to leeward, and at last she stuck fast on the lee side of the channel, just on the point of the bend." Published in 1892 in a small and now scarce edition, "Swin, Swale & Swatchway" pre-dates and inspires both Maurice Griffiths and Francis B. Cooke in giving us the sailor's experience of London's doorstep wilderness, the Thames Estuary, and the boats and characters inhabiting it in late Victorian times. These charming adventures and human encounters have an engaging immediacy about them, and are enhanced by the author's many photographs, which have weathered the years well to provide a priceless glimpse of a perhaps familiar territory, but in a time long gone from us.
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About the Author

Henry Lewis Jones MA, MD, FRCP, was born at Sheerness, Kent in 1857, the son of Henry Jones RN, a naval chaplain. He obtained a First in Natural Sciences at Cambridge in 1879, and went on to become a pioneer in the medical application of electricity. From 1891 he led and developed the department of Electrical Medicine at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London. He was the author of many papers, and a standard text in the field which reached six editions. In 1896 he married the eldest daughter of Count H. H. von Platen-Hallermund. In his later years he cultivated rare plants at his country house near Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire. His son became a midshipman on HMS Hawke, and went down with that vessel when she was torpedoed in 1914. Henry Lewis Jones, already in poor health at the time, never recovered from this blow and died on Easter Sunday 1915, on the eve of his fifty-eighth birthday. - From his obituary in the British Medical Journal.

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