PortCities London

The port in literature


Sculpted panel commemorating Charles Dickens.
View full size imageSculpted panel commemorating Charles Dickens. © NMM

Many writers have used references to the Thames and London's port districts in their works.

Here is a selection of extracts from leading authors, including Conan Doyle, Dickens, Defoe and others.

For anyone not familiar with these authors, their works are well worth reading.


The frost fair on the Thames in 1814.
View full size imageThe frost fair on the Thames in 1814. © NMM
The port also generated a great deal of lesser writing. This selection considers two very different examples: 'Chinatown' literature, which used the seafaring Chinese community of Limehouse as the backdrop for lurid thrillers, and 'frost fair' verses, when the freezing of the river 'inspired' some of the most lifeless poetry ever written.


   Back to Frost fair 'poetry'