Six of the Best London Boat Bits in Books

Few things stand in greater contrast to getting stuck in the snow than the freedom of sailing away on a boat, which is why the London International Boat Show is especially well timed this year.

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It’s the fifty-SIXth LIBS and to celebrate, I’ve compiled a list of SIX London-literary-boat-type references:

Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome.
Two’s company and three’s a boat crowded with laughs in one of the all-time classic comic novels, set on the Thames.

A Man for All Seasons – Robert Bolt.
Watery imagery all the way as Thomas Moore and Henry VIII work out who’ll pay the ferryman. To get to the other side, geddit?

Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens.
Kicks off with a dead body floating in the Thames. Not Nancy’s, though the love interest out of Oliver Twist also gets her comeuppance down by the river.

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame.
Rat, Mole, Toad and other animals find out what it means to be human while messing about on the river.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – JK Rowling.
Who can forget the opening scene of the film with the destruction of the Millennium Bridge? OK, it’s not in the book, but apparently it took a team of 20 people several months to build, texture and rig the bridge in a 3D animation programme and those efforts must not be ignored.

The World is Not Enough – by way of Ian Fleming. Yes, an even more tenuous connection to literature, but I like cheating, even against my own rules. The film’s pre-credit sequence has a great boat chase that takes in loads of Thames landmarks, including Docklands, which is where we find the ExCell and hence we’re back at the boat show