Carl Goes London Islands — new book tells stories of the islands and islanders of the River Thames

Carl Goes has published a book about the islands on the River Thames, uncovering the stories of the islanders who actively choose an unexpected lifestyle.

Carl Goes London Islands looks at a rarely explored side of a global city. This journey along the River Thames takes a look at the islands many Londoners don’t even know exist. Every island has a story to tell, whether it’s of the world’s greatest musicians making music, or royals and politicians famously hiding out.

Many Londoners don’t know the islands exist, let alone that a number of them are inhabited. Home to musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, film industry experts, sports stars, business people – and many normal families too – the communities on London’s islands share something incredible. London’s islanders all have an affinity with the water and the drive to undertake an unconventional path in life.

Carl Goes London Islands tells the stories of 65 islands along the River Thames, with interviews and stories from 22 islanders. The interviewees of Carl Goes London Islands include:

  • Trevor Baylis OBE CBE – inventor of the wind-up radio and resident of Eel Pie Island. This is one of Trevor’s last interviews, as he passed away in March 2018.

  • Steve Lyon – music producer who has worked with Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and Depeche Mode. His studio is on Platt’s Eyot.

  • Dean Macey – the Olympics and Commonwealth Games decathlete and television presenter, who lives on Canvey Island.

  • Peter Norrey – BAFTA award winning film editor and resident of Garrick’s Ait.

  • Henry and Blaine Harrison from the band, Mystery Jets. Eel Pie Island is Henry’s home and the band’s ‘spiritual HQ’.

  • Brian Watson, owner of ODDLY Beer, who set up his brewery on Platt’s Eyot despite the logistical issues of footbridge-only access.

  • Rosina Lyford, the artist whose work has been displayed in an exhibition alongside the words of Picasso and Chagall. She lives on Hamhaugh Island.

  • Emma Muir, the business owner who lives on Pharaoh’s Island in the house where Janet Munro (Swiss Family Robinson) and Ian Hendry (The Avengers) used to live, and where Jimi Hendrix previously visited for a party.

  • Gordon Spice, the former British racing driver and resident of Ham Island who has ironically introduced a speed limit on the island!

“There’s just something about islands,” says author and Carl Goes editor Sasha Arms. “They’re places to be creative and have some space from the world. On the River Thames islands, it’s incredible that you’re in a global city at the same time. It’s a choice in life to do something different and not worry about convention. River Thames islanders are definitely ‘yes’ people.”

“Islands aren’t just pieces of land surrounded by water,” says Carl Goes publisher Sascha Mengerink. “They represent freedom. They’re places to breathe and get lost. And they’re home to unexpected stories and lifestyles too.”

Carl Goes London Islands is the sixth book in the Carl Goes series, following on from guides to Amsterdam, Berlin, Kassel, Leipzig and London. Carl Goes London Islands is available to buy online at (UK), (international) and via a number of independent stockists.