Hawthorne, Edward: 1995 UK, bound with dustwrap 224 pages, with many illustrations. The Thames Valley in the late 1880s was becoming the summer playground of wealthy Londoners and, thanks to the Great Western Railway, a magnet for large numbers of day-trippers, many of whom would embark on one of the steamers running trips on the river. At the same time, electric motors and batteries had developed to such a point that the electric boat had become a practical reality, capable of competing with the steam launch. In 1889 Moritz Immisch set up the first electric boat hire company, and its launches with their freedom from dirt and smoke and their ease of operation were immediately popular. Other boatbuilders and hirers on the Thames followed his lead and blazed the trail of electric boating, so that by 1900 its future looked full of promise. The growth in demand for petrol engined boats and the outbreak of war in 1914 spelt the end of the Edwardian era of steam and electric launches, but today electric boats are making a comeback throughout the world as people are experiencing the quietness and lower pollution which they offer. Once again, it is becoming commonplace to see them on the Thames. This book brings together for the first time the story of electric boating on the Thames. Fully illustrated with over 150 photographs, it draws on contemporary records to describe the story of boatyards, the histories of individual boats, and the activities of river users.