Tui or Parson Bird Prosthemadera Novae Zealandiae. From: 'A history of the birds of New Zealand' by Walter Lawry Buller | OUR Heritage

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Sweet Thames Run Softly






Special Collections DA670 T2 GD98. Reproduced by permission of the Robert Gibbings Estate and the Heather Chalcroft Literary Agency


London: J. M. Dent & Sons


In early 1939 Gibbings felt he had travelled extensively over salt water and it was about time that he explored some fresh water closer to home – the Thames River. On deciding that he needed a boat to sleep on and store all his drawing and scientific equipment, he, along with some craftsmen, built one: the Willow. He set out from the source of the Thames at Lechlade in Gloucestershire in July 1939 and travelled down the river using a glass bottomed box to see and draw what was under the water. Sweet Thames Run Softly was ‘an immediate and surprising success’. It was reprinted at least eight times and eventually sold over 130,000 copies.


Robert Gibbings, “Sweet Thames Run Softly,” | OUR Heritage, accessed November 12, 2019,

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