During his visits to London in 1861 and 1862, George Washington Wilson took many photographs of the River Thames. At that time it was an extremely busy waterway, carrying shipping from all over the world into the capital. This stereoscopic photograph is one of a series of three, entitled ‘Waiting for, The Arrival of, and The Departure of the Boat’, which together form a narrative sequence. The images followed on from Wilson’s series ‘The Thames at Greenwich’, taken in 1861. These picturesque photographs portray the river in an artistic and poetic way, whilst drawing attention to the activity and progress of modern times. However, they give no indication of the fact that in reality the river was known as ‘a huge unquiet cesspool’, or open sewer.