Ken White is a widely published author of local environmental, social and geographical issues. For much of his adult life Ken has cycled around the south London area collecting snippets of information and drawing the scenery in research of his latest book, which would often be published in his fine longhand. One superb example of his work is the 1999 ‘The Quaggy River and its Catchment Area’, an account of the river and the tributaries from the 18th century illustrated with maps, pictures and original sketches. Recently mentalmapping used Ken’s book to take a group of 50 individuals on the inaugural Ray Manchester walk along the river Quaggy itself. We stopped at each bridge along the way and passages from Ken’s book were read out in addition to notes on recent engineering and political history from Matthew Blumler. The walkers were attached to the Quaggy Waterways Action Group, an organisation dedicated to the sustainable maintainence of this local river. Ken also mentions the group in his book, illustrating well the complex relationship of stakeholders that take responsibility for the river’s upkeep. Ken has also written books on the Croydon Canal, a collection of the local cemeteries, local alehouses (the architecture not the beer) and walking guides.
He is in his late eighties now and cycles no longer however he is sharp as a button and quick to recall even the smallest detail of a particular escapade into the riparian undergrowth of London’s southeast. All of Ken White’s work is available at the Lewisham Local Studies library.