Wolfson History Prize judges: "Covering crime and punishment, shipbuilding and repair, smuggling and much more, this lively account recovers the forgotten people of maritime London, the commercial centre which sustained a global empire."
The contribution of maritime London to the British nation and empire at war is a neglected subject and Lincoln has done an admirable job in resurrecting it. Through her crowded pages we meet the East End provisioners of war – the ships’ biscuit makers, brewers and distillers – and, of course, the builders of both merchant vessels and the Royal Navy’s finest ships in the government dockyards at Deptford...All of this is meat and drink to Lincoln, who is an able guide through every nook and cranny along the river. When she strays beyond that chosen terrain she sometimes stumbles. Her account of the career of the radical politician John Wilkes is a muddled diversion that should have been avoided... Lincoln’s writing, too, has more of the copper-bottomed East Indiaman about it than the nimble Thames skiff. Even so, this is a fine book that valuably extends our understanding of London’s river and its place in British history.