Recreating William Morris’s voyage on the River Thames
Posted on August 1, 2019
The last and loveliest section of William Morris’s utopian romance News from Nowhere involves a voyage up the Thames from Hammersmith to Kelmscott. The arrival at Kelmscott Manor forms the novel’s climax, as one of the characters lays her hand upon the manor’s wall and gives voice to the themes of beauty, harmony, and equality that suffuse Morris’s utopian vision. Morris based the novel’s Thames voyage on trips he made from Hammersmith to Kelmscott in the summers of 1880 and 1881; contemporary diaries and letters provide a detailed record of that high-spirited adventure, filled with beautiful scenery, much joking, and minor nautical mishaps.
This August a group of intrepid travellers led by Michael Robertson, academic and member of The William Morris Society, will recreate Morris’s journey from Kelmscott House in Hammersmith to Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire. The journey begins on Sunday 11th August and we’ll be posting regular updates on the adventure, so watch this space!