Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Post-Apocalyptic A to Z: Underwater Perils
Right now I'm reading A Drive Through England, written in 1885 by James John Hissey. It's a charming Victorian travelogue with plenty of lush descriptions of unspoilt countryside, but there are sobering passages as well. Hissey mentions that fishing in the Thames isn't what it used to be.
"What a pity it is there are nowadays no salmon in this fine river, and that a Thames trout should be such a rarity and curiosity! As late as 1820, this noble fish had not forsaken this stream, one of seventy-two pounds being captured that year by one Robert Coxen, a waterman, at Twickenham. Salmon still annually make their appearance at the Thames mouth, and if only they could make their way through the dirty water and filth we throw needlessly into the river, there would be as good sport for anglers west of Twickenham as there is north of the Tweed."
Luckily the Thames is a lot cleaner than in his day. Salmon and trout are beginning to reappear, thanks to a decline in England's industrial base.
Maybe the fall of civilization would be good for the environment. :-
Image of the Trout Inn at Godstow courtesy Rod Allday. Many pubs are called "The Trout" in reference to the fishing that used to occur nearby.