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The River Thames
River Thames
(/tɛmz/ ( listen) TEMZ) is a river that flows through southern England, most notably through London. At 215 miles (346 km), it is the longest river entirely in England
England
and the second longest in the United Kingdom, after the River Severn. It also flows through Oxford
Oxford
(where it is called Isis), Reading, Henley-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames
and Windsor. The lower reaches of the river are called the Tideway, derived from its long tidal reach up to Teddington Lock. It rises at Thames Head
Thames Head
in Gloucestershire, and flows into the North Sea
North Sea
via the Thames Estuary. The Thames drains the whole of Greater London.[1] Its tidal section, reaching up to Teddington
Teddington
Lock, includes most of its London
London
stretch and has a rise and fall of 7 metres (23 ft). Running through some of the driest parts of mainland Britain and heavily abstracted for drinking water, the Thames' discharge is low considering its length and breadth: the Severn has a discharge almost twice as large on average despite having a smaller drainage basin. In Scotland, the Tay achieves more than double the average discharge from a drainage basin that is 60% smaller. Along its course are 45 navigation locks with accompanying weirs. Its catchment area covers a large part of south eastern and a small part of western England
England
and the river is fed by 38 named tributaries.[citation needed] The river contains over 80 islands. With its waters varying from freshwater to almost seawater, the Thames supports a variety of wildlife and has a number of adjoining Sites of Special
Special
Scientific Interest, with the largest being in the remaining parts of the North Kent
Kent
Marshes and covering 5,449 hectares (13,460 acres).[2] In 2010, the Thames won the largest environmental award in the world – the $350,000 International Riverprize.[3]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Administration 3 Human activity 4 Physical and natural aspects

4.1 Sea level 4.2 Catchment area and discharge

4.2.1 The non-tidal section 4.2.2 The tidal section

4.3 Islands 4.4 Geological and topographic history

4.4.1 Ice age 4.4.2 Conversion of marshland

4.5 Wildlife

5 Human history

5.1 Roman Britain 5.2 Middle Ages 5.3 Early modern period 5.4 Victorian era 5.5 20th century

6 The active river

6.1 Transport and tourism

6.1.1 The tidal river 6.1.2 The upper river 6.1.3 Aerial lift

6.2 Police and lifeboats 6.3 Navigation

6.3.1 History of the management of the river

6.4 The river as a boundary 6.5 Crossings

7 Pollution

7.1 Treated sewage 7.2 Mercury levels 7.3 Natural carbon compounds

8 Sport

8.1 Rowing 8.2 Sailing 8.3 Skiffing 8.4 Punting 8.5 Kayaking
Kayaking
and canoeing 8.6 Swimming 8.7 Meanders

9 The Thames in the arts

9.1 Visual arts 9.2 Literature 9.3 Music

10 Major flood events

10.1 London
London
flood of 1928 10.2 Thames Valley
Thames Valley
flood of 1947 10.3 Canvey Island
Canvey Island
flood of 1953

11 See also 12 References 13 Further reading 14 External links

Etymology[edit]

A statue of Old Father Thames by Raffaelle Monti
Raffaelle Monti
at St John's Lock, Lechlade

The Thames, from Middle English
Middle English
Temese, is derived from the Brittonic Celtic name for the river, Tamesas (from *tamēssa),[4] recorded in Latin
Latin
as Tamesis
Tamesis
and yielding modern Welsh Tafwys "Thames". The name may have meant "dark" and can be compared to other cognates such as Russian темно ( Proto-Slavic *tĭmĭnŭ), Latvian tumsa "darkness", Sanskrit
Sanskrit
tamas and Welsh tywyll "darkness" (Proto-Celtic *temeslos) and Middle Irish teimen "dark grey".[4] The same origin is shared by countless other river names, spread across Britain, such as the River Tamar
River Tamar
at the border of Devon
Devon
and Cornwall, several rivers named Tame in the Midlands and North Yorkshire, the Tavy on Dartmoor, the Team of the North East, the Teifi and Teme of Wales, the Teviot in the Scottish Borders, as well as one of the Thames' tributaries called the Thame. Kenneth H. Jackson has proposed that the name of the Thames is not Indo-European (and of unknown meaning),[5] while Peter Kitson suggested that it is Indo-European but originated before the Celts
Celts
and has a name indicating "muddiness" from a root *tā-, 'melt'.[6] Indirect evidence for the antiquity of the name 'Thames' is provided by a Roman potsherd found at Oxford, bearing the inscription Tamesubugus fecit (Tamesubugus made [this]). It is believed that Tamesubugus' name was derived from that of the river.[7] Tamese was referred to as a place, not a river in the Ravenna Cosmography
Ravenna Cosmography
(c. AD 700). The river's name has always been pronounced with a simple t /t/; the Middle English
Middle English
spelling was typically Temese and the Brittonic form Tamesis. A similar spelling from 1210, "Tamisiam", is found in the Magna Carta.[8] The Thames through Oxford
Oxford
is sometimes called the Isis. Historically, and especially in Victorian times, gazetteers and cartographers insisted that the entire river was correctly named the Isis from its source down to Dorchester on Thames
Dorchester on Thames
and that only from this point, where the river meets the Thame and becomes the "Thame-isis" (supposedly subsequently abbreviated to Thames) should it be so called. Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
maps still label the Thames as "River Thames or Isis" down to Dorchester. However, since the early 20th century this distinction has been lost in common usage outside of Oxford, and some historians suggest the name Isis is nothing more than a truncation of Tamesis, the Latin
Latin
name for the Thames. Richard Coates suggests that while the river was as a whole called the Thames, part of it, where it was too wide to ford, was called *(p)lowonida. This gave the name to a settlement on its banks, which became known as Londinium, from the Indo-European roots *pleu- "flow" and *-nedi "river" meaning something like the flowing river or the wide flowing unfordable river.[9] For merchant seamen, the Thames has long been just the " London
London
River". Londoners often refer to it simply as "the river" in expressions such as "south of the river".[10] The river gives its name to three informal areas: the Thames Valley, a region of England
England
around the river between Oxford
Oxford
and West London; the Thames Gateway; and the greatly overlapping Thames Estuary
Thames Estuary
around the tidal Thames to the east of London
London
and including the waterway itself. Thames Valley
Thames Valley
Police is a formal body that takes its name from the river, covering three counties. The administrative powers of the Thames Conservancy
Thames Conservancy
have been taken on with modifications by the Environment Agency
Environment Agency
and, in respect of the Tideway
Tideway
part of the river, such powers are split between the agency and the Port of London Authority. In non-administrative use, stemming directly from the river and its name are Thames Valley
Thames Valley
University, Thames Water, Thames Television productions, Thames & Hudson publishing, Thameslink (north-south railways passing through central London) and South Thames College. Historic entities include the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company Administration[edit] The administrative powers of the Thames Conservancy
Thames Conservancy
have been taken on with modifications by the Environment Agency
Environment Agency
and, in respect of the Tideway
Tideway
part of the river, such powers are split between the agency and the Port of London
London
Authority. Human activity[edit] The marks of human activity, in some cases dating back to Pre-Roman Britain, are visible at various points along the river. These include a variety of structures connected with use of the river, such as navigations, bridges and watermills, as well as prehistoric burial mounds. A major maritime route is formed for much of its length for shipping and supplies: through the Port of London
London
for international trade, internally along its length and by its connection to the British canal system. The river's position has put it at the centre of many events in British history, leading to it being described by John Burns as "liquid history". Two broad canals link the river to other river basins: the Kennet and Avon Canal (Reading to Bath) and the Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal
( London
London
to the Midlands). The Grand Union effectively bypassed the earlier, narrow and winding Oxford
Oxford
Canal which also remains open as a popular scenic recreational route. Three further cross-basin canals are disused but are in various stages of reconstruction: the Thames and Severn Canal (via Stroud), which operated until 1927 (to the west coast of England), the Wey and Arun Canal
Wey and Arun Canal
to Littlehampton, which operated until 1871 (to the south coast), and the Wilts and Berks Canal. Rowing and sailing clubs are common along the Thames, which is navigable to such vessels. Kayaking
Kayaking
and canoeing also take place. Major annual events include the Henley Royal Regatta
Henley Royal Regatta
and the Boat Race, while the Thames has been used during two Summer Olympic Games: 1908 (rowing);1948 (rowing and canoeing). Safe headwaters and reaches are a summer venue for organised swimming, which is prohibited on safety grounds in a stretch centred on Central London. Physical and natural aspects[edit]

The marker stone at the official source of the River Thames
River Thames
named Thames Head
Thames Head
near Kemble

The Seven Springs source

The Thames Barrier
Thames Barrier
provides protection against floods

The Thames passes by some of the sights of London, including the Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
and the London
London
Eye

The Thames passing through the London
London
Borough of Richmond upon Thames

The usually quoted source of the Thames is at Thames Head
Thames Head
(at grid reference ST980994). This is about 3⁄4 mile (1.2 km)[11] north of Kemble parish church in southern Gloucestershire, near the town of Cirencester, in the Cotswolds.[12] However, Seven Springs near Cheltenham, where the Churn (which feeds into the Thames near Cricklade) rises, is also sometimes quoted as the Thames' source,[13][14] as this location is furthest from the mouth, and adds some 14 miles (23 km) to the length. At Seven Springs above the source is a stone with the Latin
Latin
hexameter inscription "Hic tuus o Tamesine pater septemgeminus fons", which means "Here, O Father Thames, [is] your sevenfold source".[15] The springs at Seven Springs flow throughout the year, while those at Thames Head
Thames Head
are only seasonal (a winterbourne). The Thames is the longest river entirely in England, but the River Severn, which is partly in Wales, is the longest river in the United Kingdom. As the River Churn, sourced at Seven Springs, is 14 miles (23 km) longer than the Thames (from its traditional source at Thames Head
Thames Head
to the confluence), the overall length of the Thames measured from Seven Springs, 229 miles (369 km), is greater than the Severn's length 220 miles (350 km). Thus, the "Churn/Thames" river may be regarded as the longest natural river in the United Kingdom. The stream from Seven Springs is joined at Coberley
Coberley
by a longer tributary which could further increase the length of the Thames, with its source in the grounds of the National Star College
National Star College
at Ullenwood. The Thames flows through or alongside Ashton Keynes, Cricklade, Lechlade, Oxford, Abingdon-on-Thames, Wallingford, Goring-on-Thames and Streatley, Pangbourne
Pangbourne
and Whitchurch-on-Thames, Reading, Wargrave, Henley-on-Thames, Marlow, Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton, Staines-upon-Thames
Staines-upon-Thames
and Egham, Chertsey, Shepperton, Weybridge, Sunbury-on-Thames, Walton-on-Thames, Molesey
Molesey
and Thames Ditton. The river was subject to minor redefining and widening of the main channel around Oxford, Abingdon and Marlow before 1850, since when further cuts to ease navigation have reduced distances further. Molesey
Molesey
faces Hampton, London, and in Greater London
London
the Thames passes Hampton Court
Hampton Court
Palace, Surbiton, Kingston upon Thames, Teddington, Twickenham, Richmond (with a famous view of the Thames from Richmond Hill), Syon House, Kew, Brentford, Chiswick, Barnes, Hammersmith, Fulham, Putney, Wandsworth, Battersea
Battersea
and Chelsea. In central London, the river passes Pimlico
Pimlico
and Vauxhall, and then forms one of the principal axes of the city, from the Palace of Westminster
Westminster
to the Tower of London. At this point, it historically formed the southern boundary of the medieval city, with Southwark, on the opposite bank, then being part of Surrey. Beyond central London, the river passes Bermondsey, Wapping, Shadwell, Limehouse, Rotherhithe, Millwall, Deptford, Greenwich, Cubitt Town, Blackwall, New Charlton
New Charlton
and Silvertown, before flowing through the Thames Barrier, which protects central London
London
from flooding by storm surges. Below the barrier, the river passes Woolwich, Thamesmead, Dagenham, Erith, Purfleet, Dartford, West Thurrock, Northfleet, Tilbury
Tilbury
and Gravesend
Gravesend
before entering the Thames Estuary
Thames Estuary
near Southend-on-Sea. Sea level[edit] Sediment cores up to 10 m deep collected by the British Geological Survey from the banks of the tidal River Thames
River Thames
contain geochemical information and fossils which provide a 10,000-year record of sea-level change.[16] Combined, this and other studies suggest that the Thames sea-level has risen more than 30 m during the Holocene at a rate of around 5–6 mm per year from 10,000 to 6,000 years ago.[16] The rise of sea level dramatically reduced when the ice melt nearly concluded over the past 4,000 years. Since the beginning of the 20th century rates of sea level rise range from 1.22 mm per year to 2.14 mm per year.[16] Catchment area and discharge[edit] Main article: Tributaries of the River Thames The Thames River Basin District, including the Medway catchment, covers an area of 6,229 square miles (16,130 km2).[17] The river basin includes both rural and heavily urbanised areas in the east and northern parts while the western parts of the catchment are predominantly rural. The area is among the driest in the United Kingdom. Water resources consist of groundwater from aquifers and water taken from the Thames and its tributaries, much of it stored in large bank-side reservoirs.[17] The Thames itself provides two-thirds of London's drinking water while groundwater supplies about 40 per cent of public water supplies in the total catchment area. Groundwater
Groundwater
is an important water source, especially in the drier months, so maintaining its quality and quantity is extremely important. Groundwater
Groundwater
is vulnerable to surface pollution, especially in highly urbanised areas.[17] The non-tidal section[edit] Main article: Locks and weirs on the River Thames

The Jubilee River
Jubilee River
at Slough Weir

St John's Lock, near Lechlade

The River Thames
River Thames
in Oxford

Brooks, canals and rivers, within an area of 3,842 square miles (9,951 km2),[18] combine to form 38 main tributaries feeding the Thames between its source and Teddington
Teddington
Lock. This is the usual tidal limit; however, high spring tides can raise the head water level in the reach above Teddington
Teddington
and can occasionally reverse the river flow for a short time. In these circumstances, tidal effects can be observed upstream to the next lock beside Molesey
Molesey
weir,[19] which is visible from the towpath and bridge beside Hampton Court
Hampton Court
Palace. Before Teddington
Teddington
Lock was built in 1810–12, the river was tidal at peak spring tides as far as Staines upon Thames. In descending order, non-related tributaries of the non-tidal Thames, with river status, are the Churn, Leach, Cole, Ray, Coln, Windrush, Evenlode, Cherwell, Ock, Thame, Pang, Kennet, Loddon, Colne, Wey and Mole. In addition, there are occasional backwaters and artificial cuts that form islands, distributaries (most numerous in the case of the Colne), and man-made distributaries such as the Longford River. Three canals intersect this stretch: the Oxford
Oxford
Canal, Kennet and Avon Canal and Wey Navigation. Its longest artificial secondary channel (cut), the Jubilee River, was built between Maidenhead
Maidenhead
and Windsor for flood relief and completed in 2002.[20][21] The non-tidal section of the river is owned and managed by the Environment Agency, which is responsible for managing the flow of water to help prevent and mitigate flooding, and providing for navigation: the volume and speed of water downstream is managed by adjusting the sluices at each of the weirs and, at peak high water, levels are generally dissipated over preferred flood plains adjacent to the river. Occasionally, flooding of inhabited areas is unavoidable and the agency issues flood warnings. Due to stiff penalties applicable on the non-tidal river, which is a drinking water source before treatment, sanitary sewer overflow from the many sewage treatment plants covering the upper Thames basin is rare in the non-tidal Thames, which ensures clearer water compared to the river's tideway.[22] The tidal section[edit] Main article: Tideway

London
London
Stone at Staines, built in 1285 marked the customs limit of the Thames and the City of London's jurisdiction

Waterstand of Thames at low tide (left) and high tide (right) in comparison at Blackfriars Bridge
Blackfriars Bridge
in London

Below Teddington
Teddington
Lock (about 55 miles or 89 kilometres upstream of the Thames Estuary), the river is subject to tidal activity from the North Sea. Before the lock was installed, the river was tidal as far as Staines, about 16 miles (26 km) upstream.[23] London, capital of Roman Britain, was established on two hills, now known as Cornhill and Ludgate Hill. These provided a firm base for a trading centre at the lowest possible point on the Thames.[24] A river crossing was built at the site of London
London
Bridge. London
London
Bridge is now used as the basis for published tide tables giving the times of high tide. High tide reaches Putney
Putney
about 30 minutes later than London Bridge, and Teddington
Teddington
about an hour later. The tidal stretch of the river is known as "the Tideway". Tide
Tide
tables are published by the Port of London
London
Authority and are available online. Times of high and low tides are also posted on Twitter. The principal tributaries of the River Thames
River Thames
on the Tideway
Tideway
include the rivers Brent, Wandle, Effra, Westbourne, Fleet, Ravensbourne (the final part of which is called Deptford
Deptford
Creek), Lea, Roding, Darent and Ingrebourne. At London, the water is slightly brackish with sea salt, being a mix of sea and fresh water. This part of the river is managed by the Port of London
London
Authority. The flood threat here comes from high tides and strong winds from the North Sea, and the Thames Barrier
Thames Barrier
was built in the 1980s to protect London
London
from this risk. Islands[edit] Main article: Islands in the River Thames

London
London
City Airport is on the site of a dock

The River Thames
River Thames
contains over 80 islands ranging from the large estuarial marshlands of the Isle of Sheppey
Isle of Sheppey
and Canvey Island
Canvey Island
to small tree-covered islets like Rose Isle
Rose Isle
in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire
and Headpile Eyot
Headpile Eyot
in Berkshire. They are found all the way from the Isle of Sheppey
Isle of Sheppey
in Kent to Fiddler's Island
Fiddler's Island
in Oxfordshire. Some of the largest inland islands, for example Formosa Island
Formosa Island
near Cookham
Cookham
and Andersey Island at Abingdon, were created naturally when the course of the river divided into separate streams. In the Oxford
Oxford
area the river splits into several streams across the floodplain (Seacourt Stream, Castle Mill Stream, Bulstake Stream
Bulstake Stream
and others), creating several islands (Fiddler's Island, Osney
Osney
and others). Desborough Island, Ham Island
Ham Island
at Old Windsor
Old Windsor
and Penton Hook Island were artificially created by lock cuts and navigation channels. Chiswick
Chiswick
Eyot
Eyot
is a familiar landmark on the Boat Race course, while Glover's Island
Glover's Island
forms the centrepiece of the spectacular view from Richmond Hill. Islands of historical interest include Magna Carta
Magna Carta
Island at Runnymede, Fry's Island
Fry's Island
at Reading, and Pharaoh's Island near Shepperton. In more recent times Platts Eyot
Platts Eyot
at Hampton was the place where Motor Torpedo Boats
Motor Torpedo Boats
(MTB)s were built, Tagg's Island
Tagg's Island
near Molesey
Molesey
was associated with the impresario Fred Karno
Fred Karno
and Eel Pie Island at Twickenham
Twickenham
was the birthplace of the South East's R&B music scene. Westminster
Westminster
Abbey and the Palace of Westminster
Westminster
(commonly known today as the Houses of Parliament) were built on Thorney Island, which used to be an eyot. Geological and topographic history[edit] See also: Ancestral Thames

European LGM refuges, 20,000 years ago. The Thames was a minor river that joined the Rhine, in the southern North Sea
North Sea
basin at this time.    Solutrean
Solutrean
and Proto Solutrean
Solutrean
Cultures   Epi Gravettian
Gravettian
Culture

The River Thames
River Thames
can first be identified as a discrete drainage line as early as 58 million years ago, in the Thanetian stage of the late Palaeocene
Palaeocene
epoch.[25] Until around 500,000 years ago, the Thames flowed on its existing course through what is now Oxfordshire, before turning to the north east through Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
and East Anglia
East Anglia
and reaching the North Sea
North Sea
near Ipswich.[26] At this time the river system headwaters lay in the English West Midlands and may, at times, have received drainage from the Berwyn Mountains in North Wales. Brooks and rivers like the River Brent, Colne Brook
Colne Brook
and Bollo Brook
Bollo Brook
either flowed into the then River Thames or went out to sea on the course of the present-day River Thames. About 450,000 years ago, in the most extreme Ice Age
Ice Age
of the Pleistocene, the Anglian, the furthest southern extent of the ice sheet was at Hornchurch
Hornchurch
in east London.[27] It dammed the river in Hertfordshire, resulting in the formation of large ice lakes, which eventually burst their banks and caused the river to be diverted onto its present course through what is now London. Progressively, the channel was pushed south to form the St Albans
St Albans
depression by the repeated advances of the ice sheet.[28] This created a new river course through Berkshire
Berkshire
and on into London, after which the river rejoined its original course in southern Essex, near the present River Blackwater estuary. Here it entered a substantial freshwater lake in the southern North Sea
North Sea
basin. The overspill of this lake caused the formation of the Dover Strait gap between Britain and France. Subsequent development led to the continuation of the course that the river follows at the present day.[28] Most of the bedrock of the Vale of Aylesbury is made up of clay and chalk that was formed at the end of the ice age and at one time was under the Proto-Thames. Also created at this time were the vast underground reserves of water that make the water table higher than average in the Vale of Aylesbury.[citation needed] Ice age[edit]

A geological map of the London
London
Basin; the London
London
Clay
Clay
is marked in dark brown

The confluence of Rivers Thames and Brent. The narrowboat is heading up the River Brent. From this point as far as Hanwell
Hanwell
the Brent has been canalised and shares its course with the main line of the Grand Union Canal. From Hanwell
Hanwell
the Brent can be traced to various sources in the Barnet area.

The last advance from that Scandinavian ice flow to have reached this far south covered much of north west Middlesex
Middlesex
and finally forced the Proto-Thames to take roughly its present course. At the height of the last ice age, around 20,000 BC, Britain was connected to mainland Europe by a large expanse of land known as Doggerland
Doggerland
in the southern North Sea
North Sea
basin. At this time, the Thames' course did not continue to Doggerland
Doggerland
but flowed southwards from the eastern Essex
Essex
coast where it met the Rhine, the Meuse and the Scheldt[28] flowing from what are now the Netherlands
Netherlands
and Belgium. These rivers formed a single river—the Channel River (Fleuve Manche)—that passed through the Dover Strait and drained into the Atlantic Ocean in the western English Channel. The ice sheet, which stopped around present day Finchley, deposited boulder clay to form Dollis Hill
Dollis Hill
and Hanger Hill. Its torrent of meltwater gushed through the Finchley Gap and south towards the new course of the Thames, and proceeded to carve out the Brent Valley in the process.[29] Upon the valley sides there can be seen other terraces of brickearth, laid over and sometimes interlayered with the clays. These deposits were brought in by the winds during the periglacial periods, suggesting that wide, flat marshes were then part of the landscape, which the new river Brent proceeded to cut down. The steepness of the valley sides is an indicator of the very much lower mean sea levels caused by the glaciation locking up so much water upon the land masses, thus causing the river water to flow rapidly seaward and so erode its bed quickly downwards. The original land surface was around 350 to 400 feet (110 to 120 metres) above the current sea level. The surface had sandy deposits from an ancient sea, laid over sedimentary clay (this is the blue London
London
Clay). All the erosion down from this higher land surface, and the sorting action by these changes of water flow and direction, formed what is known as the Thames River Gravel Terraces. Since Roman times and perhaps earlier, the isostatic rebound from the weight of previous ice sheets, and its interplay with the eustatic change in sea level, have resulted in the old valley of the River Brent, together with that of the Thames, silting up again. Thus, along much of the Brent's present-day course, one can make out the water meadows of rich alluvium, which is augmented by frequent floods. Conversion of marshland[edit] After the river took its present-day course, many of the banks of the Thames Estuary
Thames Estuary
and the Thames Valley
Thames Valley
in London
London
were partly covered in marshland, as was the adjoining Lower Lea Valley. Streams and rivers like the River Lea, Tyburn Brook and Bollo Brook
Bollo Brook
drained into the river, while some islands, e.g. Thorney Island, formed over the ages. The northern tip of the ancient parish of Lambeth, for example, was marshland known as Lambeth
Lambeth
Marshe, but it was drained in the 18th century; it is remembered in the street name Lower Marsh.[30] The East End of London, also known simply as the East End, was the area of London
London
east of the medieval walled City of London
London
and north of the River Thames, although it is not defined by universally accepted formal boundaries; the River Lea
River Lea
can be considered another boundary.[31] Most of the local riverside was also marshland. The land was drained and became farmland; it was built on after the Industrial Revolution. Use of the term "East End" in a pejorative sense began in the late 19th century,[30] Canvey Island
Canvey Island
in southern Essex
Essex
(area 18.45 km2, 7.12 sq mi; population 37,479[32]) was once marshy, but is now a fully reclaimed island in the Thames estuary. It is separated from the mainland of south Essex
Essex
by a network of creeks. Lying below sea level it is prone to flooding at exceptional tides, but has nevertheless been inhabited since Roman times. Wildlife[edit]

Swan Upping
Swan Upping
– skiffs surround the swans

Fishing at Penton Hook Island

Various species of birds feed off the river or nest on it, some being found both at sea and inland. These include cormorant, black-headed gull and herring gull. The mute swan is a familiar sight on the river but the escaped black swan is more rare. The annual ceremony of Swan Upping is an old tradition of counting stocks. Non-native geese that can be seen include Canada geese, Egyptian geese and bar-headed geese, and ducks include the familiar native mallard, plus introduced Mandarin duck
Mandarin duck
and wood duck. Other water birds to be found on the Thames include the great crested grebe, coot, moorhen, heron and kingfisher. Many types of British birds also live alongside the river, although they are not specific to the river habitat. The Thames contains both sea water and fresh water, thus providing support for seawater and freshwater fish. However, many populations of fish are at risk and are being killed in tens of thousands because of pollutants leaking into the river from human activities.[33] Salmon, which inhabit both environments, have been reintroduced and a succession of fish ladders have been built into weirs to enable them to travel upstream. On 5 August 1993, the largest non-tidal salmon in recorded history was caught close to Boulters Lock
Boulters Lock
in Maidenhead. The specimen weighed 14 1⁄2 pounds (6.6 kg) and measured 22 inches (56 cm) in length. The eel is particularly associated with the Thames and there were formerly many eel traps. Freshwater fish of the Thames and its tributaries include brown trout, chub, dace, roach, barbel, perch, pike, bleak and flounder. Colonies of short-snouted seahorses have also recently been discovered in the river.[34] The Thames is also host to some invasive crustaceans, including the signal crayfish and the Chinese mitten crab. Aquatic mammals are also known to inhabit the Thames. The population of grey and harbour seals numbers up to 700 in the Thames Estuary. These animals have been sighted as far upriver as Richmond.[35] Bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises are also sighted in the Thames.[36] On 20 January 2006, a 16–18 ft (4.9–5.5 m) northern bottle-nosed whale was seen in the Thames as far upstream as Chelsea. This was extremely unusual: this whale is generally found in deep sea waters. Crowds gathered along the riverbanks to witness the extraordinary spectacle but there was soon concern, as the animal came within yards of the banks, almost beaching, and crashed into an empty boat causing slight bleeding. About 12 hours later, the whale is believed to have been seen again near Greenwich, possibly heading back to sea. A rescue attempt lasted several hours, but the whale died on a barge. See River Thames
River Thames
whale.[37] Human history[edit]

The Tower of London, with Tower Bridge, built 800 years later

The River Thames
River Thames
has played several roles in human history: as an economic resource, a maritime route, a boundary, a fresh water source, a source of food and more recently a leisure facility. In 1929, John Burns, one-time MP for Battersea, responded to an American's unfavourable comparison of the Thames with the Mississippi by coining the expression "The Thames is liquid history". There is evidence of human habitation living off the river along its length dating back to Neolithic
Neolithic
times.[38] The British Museum
British Museum
has a decorated bowl (3300–2700 BC), found in the river at Hedsor, Buckinghamshire, and a considerable amount of material was discovered during the excavations of Dorney
Dorney
Lake.[39] A number of Bronze Age sites and artefacts have been discovered along the banks of the river including settlements at Lechlade, Cookham
Cookham
and Sunbury-on-Thames.[40] So extensive have the changes to this landscape been that what little evidence there is of man's presence before the ice came has inevitably shown signs of transportation here by water and reveals nothing specifically local. Likewise, later evidence of occupation, even since the arrival of the Romans, may lie next to the original banks of the Brent but have been buried under centuries of silt.[40] Roman Britain[edit] Some of the earliest written references to the Thames (Latin: Tamesis) occur in Julius Caesar's account of his second expedition to Britain in 54 BC,[41] when the Thames presented a major obstacle and he encountered the Iron Age
Iron Age
Belgic tribes the Catuvellauni
Catuvellauni
and the Atrebates
Atrebates
along the river. The confluence of the Thames and Cherwell was the site of early settlements and the River Cherwell
River Cherwell
marked the boundary between the Dobunni
Dobunni
tribe to the west and the Catuvellauni tribe to the east (these were pre-Roman Celtic tribes). In the late 1980s a large Romano-British
Romano-British
settlement was excavated on the edge of the village of Ashton Keynes
Ashton Keynes
in Wiltshire. In AD 43, under the Emperor Claudius, the Romans occupied England
England
and, recognising the river's strategic and economic importance, built fortifications along the Thames valley
Thames valley
including a major camp at Dorchester. Cornhill and Ludgate Hill
Ludgate Hill
provided a defensible site near a point on the river both deep enough for the era's ships and narrow enough to be bridged; Londinium
Londinium
(London) grew up around the Walbrook on the north bank around the year 47. Boudica's Iceni
Iceni
razed the settlement in AD 60 or 61 but it was soon rebuilt and, following the completion of its bridge, it grew to become the provincial capital of the island. The next Roman bridges upstream were at Staines) on the Devil's Highway between Londinium
Londinium
and Calleva (Silchester). Boats could be swept up to it on the rising tide with no need for wind or muscle power. Middle Ages[edit] A Romano-British
Romano-British
settlement grew up north of the confluence, partly because the site was naturally protected from attack on the east side by the River Cherwell
River Cherwell
and on the west by the River Thames. This settlement dominated the pottery trade in what is now central southern England, and pottery was distributed by boats on the Thames and its tributaries. Competition for the use of the river created the centuries-old conflict between those who wanted to dam the river to build millraces and fish traps and those who wanted to travel and carry goods on it. Economic prosperity and the foundation of wealthy monasteries by the Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxons
attracted unwelcome visitors and by around AD 870 the Vikings
Vikings
were sweeping up the Thames on the tide and creating havoc as in their destruction of Chertsey
Chertsey
Abbey.

A 1616 engraving by Claes Van Visscher
Claes Van Visscher
showing the Old London
London
Bridge, with Southwark
Southwark
Cathedral in the foreground

Once King William had won total control of the strategically important Thames Valley, he went on to invade the rest of England. He had many castles built, including those at Wallingford, Rochester, Windsor and most importantly the Tower of London. Many details of Thames activity are recorded in the Domesday Book. The following centuries saw the conflict between king and barons coming to a head in AD 1215 when King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta
Magna Carta
on an island in the Thames at Runnymede. Among a host of other things, this granted the barons the right of Navigation under Clause 23. Another major consequence of John's reign was the completion of the multi-piered London
London
Bridge, which acted as a barricade and barrage on the river, affecting the tidal flow upstream and increasing the likelihood of the river freezing over. In Tudor and Stuart times, various kings and queens built magnificent riverside palaces at Hampton Court, Kew, Richmond on Thames, Whitehall
Whitehall
and Greenwich. As early as the 1300s, the Thames was used to dispose of waste matter produced in the city of London, thus turning the river into an open sewer. In 1357, Edward III
Edward III
described the state of the river in a proclamation: "... dung and other filth had accumulated in divers places upon the banks of the river with ... fumes and other abominable stenches arising therefrom."[42] The growth of the population of London
London
greatly increased the amount of waste that entered the river, including human excrement, animal waste from slaughter houses, and waste from manufacturing processes. According to historian Peter Ackroyd, "a public lavatory on London Bridge showered its contents directly onto the river below, and latrines were built over all the tributaries that issued into the Thames."[42] Early modern period[edit]

The Frozen Thames, 1677

During a series of cold winters the Thames froze over above London Bridge: in the first Frost Fair in 1607, a tent city was set up on the river, along with a number of amusements, including ice bowling. In good conditions, barges travelled daily from Oxford
Oxford
to London carrying timber, wool, foodstuffs and livestock. The stone from the Cotswolds
Cotswolds
used to rebuild St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
after the Great Fire in 1666 was brought all the way down from Radcot. The Thames provided the major route between the City of London
London
and Westminster
Westminster
in the 16th and 17th centuries; the clannish guild of watermen ferried Londoners from landing to landing and tolerated no outside interference. In 1715, Thomas Doggett
Thomas Doggett
was so grateful to a local waterman for his efforts in ferrying him home, pulling against the tide, that he set up a rowing race for professional watermen known as "Doggett's Coat and Badge".

Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday
giving his card to Father Thames, caricature commenting on a letter of Faraday's on the state of the river in The Times in July 1855

By the 18th century, the Thames was one of the world's busiest waterways, as London
London
became the centre of the vast, mercantile British Empire, and progressively over the next century the docks expanded in the Isle of Dogs
Isle of Dogs
and beyond. Efforts were made to resolve the navigation conflicts upstream by building locks along the Thames. After temperatures began to rise again, starting in 1814, the river stopped freezing over.[43] The building of a new London
London
Bridge in 1825, with fewer piers (pillars) than the old, allowed the river to flow more freely and prevented it from freezing over in cold winters.[44] Throughout early modern history the population of London
London
and its industries discarded their rubbish in the river.[45] This included the waste from slaughterhouses, fish markets, and tanneries. The buildup in household cesspools could sometimes overflow, especially when it rained, and was washed into London's streets and sewers which eventually led to the Thames.[46] In the late 18th and 19th centuries people known as Mudlarks scavenged in the river mud for a meagre living. Victorian era[edit]

Satirical cartoon by William Heath, showing a woman observing monsters in a drop of London
London
water (at the time of the Commission on the London Water Supply report, 1828)

In the 19th century the quality of water in Thames deteriorated further. The dumping of raw sewage into the Thames was formerly only common in the City of London, making its tideway a harbour for many harmful bacteria. Gas manufactories were built alongside the river, and their by-products leaked into the water, including spent lime, ammonia, cyanide, and carbolic acid. The river had an unnaturally warm temperature caused by chemical reactions in the water, which also removed the water's oxygen.[47] Four serious cholera outbreaks killed tens of thousands of people between 1832 and 1865. Historians have attributed Prince Albert's death in 1861 to typhoid that had spread in the river's dirty waters beside Windsor Castle.[48] Wells with water tables that mixed with tributaries (or the non-tidal Thames) faced such pollution with the widespread installation of the flush toilet in the 1850s.[48] In the 'Great Stink' of 1858, pollution in the river reached such an extreme that sittings of the House of Commons at Westminster
Westminster
had to be abandoned. Chlorine-soaked drapes were hung in the windows of Parliament in an attempt to stave off the smell of the river, but to no avail.[49] A concerted effort to contain the city's sewage by constructing massive sewer systems on the north and south river embankments followed, under the supervision of engineer Joseph Bazalgette. Meanwhile, similar huge undertakings took place to ensure the water supply, with the building of reservoirs and pumping stations on the river to the west of London, slowly helping the quality of water to improve. The Victorian era
Victorian era
was one of imaginative engineering. The coming of the railways added railway bridges to the earlier road bridges and also reduced commercial activity on the river. However, sporting and leisure use increased with the establishment of regattas such as Henley and the Boat Race. On 3 September 1878, one of the worst river disasters in England
England
took place, when the crowded pleasure boat Princess Alice collided with the Bywell Castle, killing over 640 people. 20th century[edit]

The Thames as it flows through east London, with the Isle of Dogs
Isle of Dogs
in the centre

The growth of road transport, and the decline of the Empire in the years following 1914, reduced the economic prominence of the river. During the Second World War, the protection of certain Thames-side facilities, particularly docks and water treatment plants, was crucial to the munitions and water supply of the country. The river's defences included the Maunsell forts in the estuary, and the use of barrage balloons to counter German bombers using the reflectivity and shapes of the river to navigate during the Blitz. In the post-war era, although the Port of London
London
remains one of the UK's three main ports, most trade has moved downstream from central London. In the late 1950s, the discharge of methane gas in the depths of the river caused the water to bubble, and the toxins wore away at boats' propellers.[50] The decline of heavy industry and tanneries, reduced use of oil-pollutants and improved sewage treatment have led to much better water quality as compared with the late 19th and early- to mid-20th centuries and aquatic life has returned to its formerly 'dead' stretches. Alongside the entire river runs the Thames Path, a National Route for walkers and cyclists. In the early 1980s a pioneering flood control device, the Thames Barrier, was opened. It is closed to tides several times a year to prevent water damage to London's low-lying areas upstream (the 1928 Thames flood demonstrated the severity of this type of event). In the late 1990s, the 7-mile (11 km) long Jubilee River
Jubilee River
was built as a wide "naturalistic" flood relief channel from Taplow
Taplow
to Eton to help reduce the flood risk in Maidenhead
Maidenhead
Windsor and Eton.[51] The active river[edit]

Houseboats on the River Thames, in the St Margaret's, Twickenham district

One of the major resources provided by the Thames is the water distributed as drinking water by Thames Water, whose area of responsibility covers the length of the River Thames. The Thames Water Ring Main is the main distribution mechanism for water in London, with one major loop linking the Hampton, Walton, Ashford and Kempton Park Water Treatment Works with central London. In the past, commercial activities on the Thames included fishing (particularly eel trapping), coppicing willows and osiers which provided wood, and the operation of watermills for flour and paper production and metal beating. These activities have disappeared. A screw turbine hydro-electric plant at Romney Lock
Romney Lock
to power Windsor Castle using two Archimedes' screws was opened in 2013 by the Queen.[52] The Thames is popular for a wide variety of riverside housing, including high-rise flats in central London
London
and chalets on the banks and islands upstream. Some people live in houseboats, typically around Brentford
Brentford
and Tagg's Island. Transport and tourism[edit] The tidal river[edit] Main article: London
London
River Services

Passenger service on the River Thames

In London
London
there are many sightseeing tours in tourist boats, past the more famous riverside attractions such as the Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
and the Tower of London
London
as well as regular riverboat services co-ordinated by London
London
River Services. London
London
city Airport is situated on the Thames, in East London. Previously it was a dock. The upper river[edit] In summer, passenger services operate along the entire non-tidal river from Oxford
Oxford
to Teddington. The two largest operators are Salters Steamers and French Brothers. Salters operate services between Folly Bridge, Oxford
Oxford
and Staines. The whole journey takes 4 days and requires several changes of boat.[53] French Brothers operate passenger services between Maidenhead
Maidenhead
and Hampton Court.[54] Along the course of the river a number of smaller private companies also offer river trips at Oxford, Wallingford, Reading and Hampton Court.[55] Many companies also provide boat hire on the river. The leisure navigation and sporting activities on the river have given rise to a number of businesses including boatbuilding, marinas, ships chandlers and salvage services.

Ferries operating on the Thames

Aerial lift[edit]

London's Air Line over the River Thames

The Air Line aerial cable system over the Thames from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks
Royal Docks
has been in operation since the 2012 Summer Olympics. Police and lifeboats[edit] The river is policed by five police forces. The Thames Division is the River Police arm of London's Metropolitan Police, while Surrey
Surrey
Police, Thames Valley
Thames Valley
Police, Essex
Essex
Police and Kent
Kent
Police have responsibilities on their parts of the river outside the metropolitan area. There is also a London
London
Fire Brigade fire boat on the river. The river claims a number of lives each year.[citation needed] As a result of the Marchioness disaster
Marchioness disaster
in 1989 when 51 people died, the Government asked the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Port of London
London
Authority and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Royal National Lifeboat Institution
(RNLI) to work together to set up a dedicated Search and Rescue service for the tidal River Thames. As a result, there are four lifeboat stations on the River Thames
River Thames
at Teddington
Teddington
( Teddington
Teddington
lifeboat station), Chiswick ( Chiswick
Chiswick
lifeboat station), Victoria Embankment/Waterloo Bridge (Tower Lifeboat Station) and Gravesend
Gravesend
( Gravesend
Gravesend
lifeboat station).[56] Navigation[edit]

Pool of London
London
looking west, from the high-level walkway on Tower Bridge. Click on the picture for a longer description

A container ship unloading at Northfleet
Northfleet
Hope terminal, Tilbury

A ship heading downstream past Coryton Refinery

Rubbish
Rubbish
traps are used on the Thames to filter debris as it flows through central London

The Thames is maintained for navigation by powered craft from the estuary as far as Lechlade
Lechlade
in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
and for very small craft to Cricklade. From Teddington
Teddington
Lock to the head of navigation, the navigation authority is the Environment Agency. Between the sea and Teddington
Teddington
Lock, the river forms part of the Port of London
London
and navigation is administered by the Port of London
London
Authority. Both the tidal river through London
London
and the non-tidal river upstream are intensively used for leisure navigation. The non-tidal River Thames
River Thames
is divided into reaches by the 45 locks. The locks are staffed for the greater part of the day, but can be operated by experienced users out of hours. This part of the Thames links to existing navigations at the River Wey
River Wey
Navigation, the River Kennet and the Oxford
Oxford
Canal. All craft using it must be licensed. The Environment Agency
Environment Agency
has patrol boats (named after tributaries of the Thames) and can enforce the limit strictly since river traffic usually has to pass through a lock at some stage. A speed limit of 8 km/h (4.3 kn) applies. There are pairs of transit markers at various points along the non-tidal river that can be used to check speed – a boat travelling legally taking a minute or more to pass between the two markers. The tidal river is navigable to large ocean-going ships as far upstream as the Pool of London
London
and London
London
Bridge. Although London's upstream enclosed docks have closed and central London
London
sees only the occasional visiting cruise ship or warship, the tidal river remains one of Britain's main ports. Around 60 active terminals cater for shipping of all types including ro-ro ferries, cruise liners and vessels carrying containers, vehicles, timber, grain, paper, crude oil, petroleum products, liquified petroleum gas etc.[57] There is a regular traffic of aggregate or refuse vessels, operating from wharves in the west of London. The tidal Thames links to the canal network at the River Lea
River Lea
Navigation, the Regent's Canal
Regent's Canal
at Limehouse
Limehouse
Basin and the Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal
at Brentford. Upstream of Wandsworth
Wandsworth
Bridge a speed limit of 8 knots (15 km/h) is in force for powered craft to protect the riverbank environment and to provide safe conditions for rowers and other river users. There is no absolute speed limit on most of the Tideway
Tideway
downstream of Wandsworth
Wandsworth
Bridge, although boats are not allowed to create undue wash. Powered boats are limited to 12 knots between Lambeth Bridge
Lambeth Bridge
and downstream of Tower Bridge, with some exceptions. Boats can be approved by the harbour master to travel at speeds of up to 30 knots from below Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
to past the Thames Barrier.[58] History of the management of the river[edit] In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
the Crown exercised general jurisdiction over the Thames, one of the four royal rivers, and appointed water bailiffs to oversee the river upstream of Staines. The City of London
London
exercised jurisdiction over the tidal Thames. However, navigation was increasingly impeded by weirs and mills, and in the 14th century the river probably ceased to be navigable for heavy traffic between Henley and Oxford. In the late 16th century the river seems to have been reopened for navigation from Henley to Burcot.[59] The first commission concerned with the management of the river was the Oxford-Burcot Commission, formed in 1605 to make the river navigable between Burcot and Oxford. In 1751 the Thames Navigation Commission was formed to manage the whole non-tidal river above Staines. The City of London
London
long claimed responsibility for the tidal river. A long running dispute between the City and the Crown over ownership of the river was not settled until 1857, when the Thames Conservancy
Thames Conservancy
was formed to manage the river from Staines downstream. In 1866 the functions of the Thames Navigation Commission were transferred to the Thames Conservancy, which thus had responsibility for the whole river. In 1909 the powers of the Thames Conservancy
Thames Conservancy
over the tidal river, below Teddington, were transferred to the Port of London
London
Authority. In 1974 the Thames Conservancy
Thames Conservancy
became part of the new Thames Water Authority. When Thames Water
Thames Water
was privatised in 1990, its river management functions were transferred to the National Rivers Authority, in 1996 subsumed into the Environment Agency. In 2010, the Thames won the world's largest environmental award at the time, the $350,000 International Riverprize, presented at the International Riversymposium in Perth, WA in recognition of the substantial and sustained restoration of the river by many hundreds of organisations and individuals since the 1950s. The river as a boundary[edit] Until enough crossings were established, the river presented a formidable barrier, with Belgic tribes and Anglo-Saxon kingdoms being defined by which side of the river they were on. When English counties were established their boundaries were partly determined by the Thames. On the northern bank were the ancient counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex
Middlesex
and Essex. On the southern bank were the counties of Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey and Kent. The 214 bridges and 17 tunnels that have been built to date have changed the dynamics and made cross-river development and shared responsibilities more practicable. In 1965, upon the creation of Greater London, the London
London
Borough of Richmond upon Thames incorporated the former ' Middlesex
Middlesex
and Surrey' banks, Spelthorne
Spelthorne
moved from Middlesex
Middlesex
to Surrey; and further changes in 1974 moved some of the boundaries away from the river. For example, some areas were transferred from Berkshire
Berkshire
to Oxfordshire, and from Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire
to Berkshire. On occasion – for example in rowing – the banks are still referred to by their traditional county names. Crossings[edit] Main article: List of crossings of the River Thames

Newbridge, in rural Oxfordshire

The Railway bridge at Maidenhead

The Millennium Footbridge with St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
in the background

Many of the present-day road bridges are on the site of earlier fords, ferries and wooden bridges. At Swinford Bridge, a toll bridge, there was first a ford and then a ferry prior to the bridge being built. The earliest known major crossings of the Thames by the Romans were at London
London
Bridge and Staines Bridge. At Folly Bridge
Folly Bridge
in Oxford
Oxford
the remains of an original Saxon structure can be seen, and medieval stone bridges such as Newbridge and Abingdon Bridge
Abingdon Bridge
are still in use. Kingston's growth is believed to stem from its having the only crossing between London
London
Bridge and Staines until the beginning of the 18th century. During the 18th century, many stone and brick road bridges were built from new or to replace existing bridges both in London
London
and along the length of the river. These included Putney Bridge, Westminster
Westminster
Bridge, Datchet
Datchet
Bridge, Windsor Bridge
Windsor Bridge
and Sonning Bridge. Several central London
London
road bridges were built in the 19th century, most conspicuously Tower Bridge, the only Bascule bridge
Bascule bridge
on the river, designed to allow ocean-going ships to pass beneath it. The most recent road bridges are the bypasses at Isis Bridge
Isis Bridge
and Marlow By-pass Bridge and the motorway bridges, most notably the two on the M25 route Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and M25 Runnymede
Runnymede
Bridge. Railway development in the 19th century resulted in a spate of bridge building including Blackfriars Railway Bridge
Blackfriars Railway Bridge
and Charing Cross (Hungerford) Railway Bridge in central London, and the spectacular railway bridges by Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
at Maidenhead
Maidenhead
Railway Bridge, Gatehampton Railway Bridge
Gatehampton Railway Bridge
and Moulsford
Moulsford
Railway Bridge. The world's first underwater tunnel was Marc Brunel's Thames Tunnel built in 1843 and now used to carry the East London
London
Line. The Tower Subway was the first railway under the Thames, which was followed by all the deep-level tube lines. Road tunnels were built in East London at the end of the 19th century, being the Blackwall Tunnel
Blackwall Tunnel
and the Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe
Tunnel. The latest tunnels are the Dartford
Dartford
Crossings. Many foot crossings were established across the weirs that were built on the non-tidal river, and some of these remained when the locks were built – for example at Benson Lock. Others were replaced by a footbridge when the weir was removed as at Hart's Weir
Weir
Footbridge. Around 2000, several footbridges were added along the Thames, either as part of the Thames Path
Thames Path
or in commemoration of the millennium. These include Temple Footbridge, Bloomers Hole Footbridge, the Hungerford Footbridges and the Millennium Bridge, all of which have distinctive design characteristics. Before bridges were built, the main means of crossing the river was by ferry. A significant number of ferries were provided specifically for navigation purposes. When the towpath changed sides, it was necessary to take the towing horse and its driver across the river. This was no longer necessary when barges were powered by steam. Some ferries still operate on the river. The Woolwich Ferry
Woolwich Ferry
carries cars and passengers across the river in the Thames Gateway
Thames Gateway
and links the North Circular and South Circular roads. Upstream are smaller pedestrian ferries, for example Hampton Ferry and Shepperton
Shepperton
to Weybridge
Weybridge
Ferry the last being the only non-permanent crossing that remains on the Thames Path. Pollution[edit] Treated sewage[edit] Treated sewage from all the towns and villages in the Thames catchment flow into the Thames via sewage treatment plants. This includes all the sewage from Swindon, Oxford, Reading and Windsor. However, untreated sewage still regularly enters the Thames during wet weather. When London's sewerage system was built, sewers were designed to overflow through discharge points along the river during heavy storms. Originally, this would happen once or twice a year, however overflows now happen once a week on average.[60] In 2013, over 55m tonnes of raw sewage was washed into the tidal Thames. These discharge events kill fish, leave raw sewage on the riverbanks, and decrease the water quality of the river.[61][62] To prevent the release of raw sewage and rainwater into the river, the Thames Tideway
Tideway
Scheme is currently under construction at a cost of £4.2 billion. This project will collect sewage before it overflows, before channeling it down a 25 km (15 mi) tunnel underneath the tidal Thames, so it can be treated at Beckton Sewage
Sewage
Treatment Works.[63][64] The result of the project will be reduction of sewage discharges into the river by 90%, dramatically increasing water quality.[65] Mercury levels[edit] Mercury (Hg) is an environmentally persistent heavy metal which at high concentrations can be toxic to marine life and humans. Sixty sediment cores of 1 m in depth, spanning the entire tidal River Thames, between Brentford
Brentford
and the Isle of Grain
Isle of Grain
have been analysed for total Hg. The sediment records show a clear rise and fall of Hg pollution through history.[66] Mercury concentrations in the River Thames decrease downstream from London
London
to the outer Estuary
Estuary
with the total Hg levels ranging from 0.01 to 12.07 mg/kg, giving a mean of 2.10 mg/kg which is higher than many other UK and European river estuaries.[67][66] The highest amount of sedimentary-hosted Hg pollution in the Thames estuary occurs in the central London
London
area between Vauxhall Bridge
Vauxhall Bridge
and Woolwich.[66] The majority of sediment cores show a clear decrease in Hg concentrations close to the surface which is attributed to an overall reduction in polluting activities as well as improved effectiveness of recent environmental legalisation and river management (e.g. Oslo-Paris convention). Natural carbon compounds[edit] Evaluation of select of lipid compounds in the Thames estuary, known as glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) has revealed enhanced concentrations of isoprenoid GDGT compounds (crenarchaeol) around East London. This suggests that London's pollution affects the spatial distribution of natural carbon in the river sediments.[68] Other organic geochemical measurements of carbon flow such as stable carbon isotopes (δ13C) were found to be insensitive to this urban disturbance.[68] Sport[edit] There are several watersports prevalent on the Thames, with many clubs encouraging participation and organising racing and inter-club competitions. Rowing[edit] Main article: Rowing on the River Thames

Cambridge
Cambridge
cross the finish line ahead of Oxford
Oxford
in the 2007 Boat Race, viewed from Chiswick
Chiswick
Bridge

The Thames is the historic heartland of rowing in the United Kingdom. There are over 200 clubs on the river, and over 8,000 members of British Rowing
British Rowing
(over 40% of its membership).[69] Most towns and districts of any size on the river have at least one club. Internationally attended centres are Oxford, Henley-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames
and events and clubs on the stretch of river from Chiswick
Chiswick
to Putney. Two rowing events on the River Thames
River Thames
are traditionally part of the wider English sporting calendar: The University Boat Race (between Oxford
Oxford
and Cambridge) takes place in late March or early April, on the Championship Course from Putney
Putney
to Mortlake
Mortlake
in the west of London. Henley Royal Regatta
Henley Royal Regatta
takes place over five days at the start of July in the upstream town of Henley-on-Thames. Besides its sporting significance the regatta is an important date on the English social calendar alongside events like Royal Ascot and Wimbledon. Other significant or historic rowing events on the Thames include:

The Head of the River Race
Head of the River Race
and Women's Eights Head of the River Race (8+) (i.e. coxed eights), Schools' Head, Veterans Head, Scullers Head, Fours Head (HOR4s), and Pairs Head (shorter) on the Championship Course The Wingfield Sculls
The Wingfield Sculls
on the same course: (1x) (single sculling) championship Doggett's Coat and Badge
Doggett's Coat and Badge
for apprentice watermen of London, one of the oldest sporting events in the world Henley Women's Regatta The Henley Boat Races
Henley Boat Races
currently for the Lightweight (men's and women's) crews of Oxford
Oxford
and Cambridge
Cambridge
universities The Oxford
Oxford
University bumping races known as Eights Week and Torpids

Other regattas, head races and university bumping races are held along the Thames which are described under Rowing on the River Thames. Sailing[edit] Main article: Sailing on the River Thames

Thames Raters at Raven's Ait, Surbiton

Sailing is practised on both the tidal and non-tidal reaches of the river. The highest club upstream is at Oxford. The most popular sailing craft used on the Thames are lasers, GP14s and Wayfarers. One sailing boat unique to the Thames is the Thames Rater, which is sailed around Raven's Ait. Skiffing[edit] Skiffing
Skiffing
has dwindled in favour of private motor boat ownership but is competed on the river in the summer months. Six clubs and a similar number of skiff regattas exist from the Skiff Club, Teddington upstream. Punting[edit] Unlike the "pleasure punting" common on the Cherwell in Oxford
Oxford
and the Cam in Cambridge, punting on the Thames is competitive as well as recreational and uses narrower craft, typically based at the few skiff clubs. Kayaking
Kayaking
and canoeing[edit] Main article: Kayaking
Kayaking
and canoeing on the River Thames Kayaking
Kayaking
and canoeing are common, with sea kayakers using the tidal stretch for touring. Sheltered water kayakers and canoeists use the non-tidal section for training, racing and trips. Whitewater playboaters and slalom paddlers are catered for at weirs like those at Hurley Lock, Sunbury Lock
Sunbury Lock
and Boulter's Lock. At Teddington
Teddington
just before the tidal section of the river starts is Royal Canoe Club, said to be the oldest in the world and founded in 1866. Since 1950, almost every year at Easter, long distance canoeists have been competing in what is now known as the Devizes to Westminster
Westminster
International Canoe Race,[70] which follows the course of the Kennet and Avon Canal, joins the River Thames
River Thames
at Reading and runs right up to a grand finish at Westminster
Westminster
Bridge. Swimming[edit] In 2006 British swimmer and environmental campaigner Lewis Pugh
Lewis Pugh
became the first person to swim the full length of the Thames from outside Kemble to Southend-on-Sea
Southend-on-Sea
to draw attention to the severe drought in England
England
which saw record temperatures indicative of a degree of global warming. The 202 miles (325 km) swim took him 21 days to complete. The official headwater of the river had stopped flowing due to the drought forcing Pugh to run the first 26 miles (42 km).[71] Since June 2012 the Port of London
London
Authority has made and enforces a by-law that bans swimming between Putney Bridge
Putney Bridge
and Crossness, Thamesmead
Thamesmead
(thus including all of central London) without obtaining prior permission, on the grounds that swimmers in that area of the river endanger not only themselves, due to the strong current of the river, but also other river users.[72] Organised swimming events take place at various points generally upstream of Hampton Court, including Windsor, Marlow and Henley.[73][74][75] In 2011 comedian David Walliams
David Walliams
swam the 140 miles (230 km) from Lechlade
Lechlade
to Westminster Bridge
Westminster Bridge
and raised over £1 million for charity.[76] In non-tidal stretches swimming was,[77] and still is, a leisure and fitness activity among experienced swimmers where safe, deeper outer channels are used in times of low stream.[78] Meanders[edit] A Thames meander is a long-distance journey over all or part of the Thames by running, swimming or using any of the above means. It is often carried out as an athletic challenge in a competition or for a record attempt. The Thames in the arts[edit]

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The Thames in the arts

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
Sunlight Effect (Le Parlement effet de soleil) – Claude Monet

The first Westminster Bridge
Westminster Bridge
as painted by Canaletto
Canaletto
in 1746.

Maidenhead
Maidenhead
Railway Bridge as Turner saw it in 1844

Monet's Trouée de soleil dans le brouillard, Houses of Parliament, London, Sun Breaking Through the Fog, 1904

Whistler's Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Old Battersea Bridge
Battersea Bridge
(c. 1872–1875)

Foggy Morning on the Thames – James Hamilton (between 1872 and 1878)

Boating on the Thames - John Lavery, circa 1890

Visual arts[edit] The River Thames
River Thames
has been a subject for artists, great and minor, over the centuries. Four major artists with works based on the Thames are Canaletto, J. M. W. Turner, Claude Monet
Claude Monet
and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. The 20th century British artist Stanley Spencer
Stanley Spencer
produced many works at Cookham. The river is lined with various pieces of sculpture, but John Kaufman's sculpture The Diver: Regeneration is sited in the Thames near Rainham. The river and bridges are destroyed - together with much of the city - in the movie Independence Day 2.[79] Literature[edit]

A seal in the river at St. Saviour's Dock, London

The Thames is mentioned in many works of literature including novels, diaries and poetry. It is the central theme in three in particular: Three Men in a Boat
Three Men in a Boat
by Jerome K. Jerome, first published in 1889, is a humorous account of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. The book was intended initially to be a serious travel guide, with accounts of local history of places along the route, but the humorous elements eventually took over. The landscape and features of the Thames as described by Jerome are virtually unchanged, and the book's enduring popularity has meant that it has never been out of print since it was first published. Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Our Mutual Friend
Our Mutual Friend
(written in the years 1864–65) describes the river in a grimmer light. It begins with a scavenger and his daughter pulling a dead man from the river near London
London
Bridge, to salvage what the body might have in its pockets, and heads to its conclusion with the deaths of the villains drowned in Plashwater Lock upstream. The workings of the river and the influence of the tides are described with great accuracy. Dickens opens the novel with this sketch of the river, and the people who work on it:

In these times of ours, though concerning the exact year there is no need to be precise, a boat of dirty and disreputable appearance, with two figures in it, floated on the Thames, between Southwark
Southwark
Bridge which is of iron, and London
London
Bridge which is of stone, as an autumn evening was closing in. The figures in this boat were those of a strong man with ragged grizzled hair and a sun-browned face, and a girl of nineteen or twenty. The girl rowed, pulling a pair of sculls very easily; the man with the rudder-lines slack in his hands, and his hands loose in his waisteband, kept an eager look-out.

Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, written in 1908, is set in the middle to upper reaches of the river. It starts as a tale of anthropomorphic characters "simply messing about in boats" but develops into a more complex story combining elements of mysticism with adventure and reflection on Edwardian society. It is generally considered one of the most beloved works of children's literature[80] and the illustrations by E.H.Shepard and Arthur Rackham feature the Thames and its surroundings. The river almost inevitably features in many books set in London. Most of Dickens' other novels include some aspect of the Thames. Oliver Twist finishes in the slums and rookeries along its south bank. The Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
often visit riverside parts as in The Sign of Four. In Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad, the serenity of the contemporary Thames is contrasted with the savagery of the Congo River, and with the wilderness of the Thames as it would have appeared to a Roman soldier posted to Britannia two thousand years before. Conrad also gives a description of the approach to London
London
from the Thames Estuary
Thames Estuary
in his essays The Mirror of the Sea (1906). Upriver, Henry James' Portrait of a Lady
Portrait of a Lady
uses a large riverside mansion on the Thames as one of its key settings. Literary non-fiction works include Samuel Pepys' diary, in which he recorded many events relating to the Thames including the Fire of London. He was disturbed while writing it in June 1667 by the sound of gunfire as Dutch warships broke through the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
on the Thames. In poetry, William Wordsworth's sonnet On Westminster Bridge
Westminster Bridge
closes with the lines:

Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still!

T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
makes several references to the Thames in The Fire Sermon, Section III of The Waste
Waste
Land.

Sweet Thames run softly, till I end my song. The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers, Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes cigarette ends Or other testimony of summer nights.

and

The river sweats Oil and tar The barges drift With the turning tide Red sails Wide To leeward, swing on the heavy spar, The barges wash Drifting logs Down Greenwich
Greenwich
reach Past the Isle of Dogs

The Sweet Thames line is taken from Edmund Spenser's Prothalamion which presents a more idyllic image:

Along the shoare of silver streaming Themmes; Whose rutty banke, the which his river hemmes, Was paynted all with variable flowers. And all the meads adornd with daintie gemmes Fit to deck maydens bowres

Also writing of the upper reaches is Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold
in The Scholar Gypsy:

Crossing the stripling Thames at Bab-lock-hythe Trailing in the cool stream thy fingers wet As the slow punt swings round

Oh born in days when wits were fresh and clear And life ran gaily as the sparkling Thames; Before this strange disease of modern life.

Wendy Cope's poem 'After the Lunch' is set on Waterloo Bridge, beginning:

On Waterloo Bridge, where we said our goodbyes, The weather conditions bring tears to my eyes. I wipe them away with a black woolly glove, And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love.

Dylan Thomas mentions the Thames in his poem "A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London". "London's Daughter", the subject of the poem, lays "Deep with the first dead...secret by the unmourning water of the riding Thames". Science-fiction novels make liberal use of a futuristic Thames. The utopian News from Nowhere
News from Nowhere
by William Morris
William Morris
is mainly the account of a journey through the Thames valley
Thames valley
in a socialist future. The Thames also features prominently in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, as a communications artery for the waterborne Gyptian people of Oxford
Oxford
and the Fens, and as a prominent setting for his novel La Belle Sauvage. In The Deptford
Deptford
Mice trilogy by Robin Jarvis, the Thames appears several times. In one book, rat characters swim through it to Deptford. Winner of the Nestlé Children's Book Prize Gold Award I, Coriander, by Sally Gardner is a fantasy novel in which the heroine lives on the banks of the Thames. Mark Wallington describes a journey up the Thames in a camping skiff, in his 1989 book Boogie up the River (ISBN 978-0-09-965910-5). Music[edit] The Water Music composed by George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel
premiered on 17 July 1717, when King George I requested a concert on the River Thames. The concert was performed for King George I on his barge and he is said to have enjoyed it so much that he ordered the 50 exhausted musicians to play the suites three times on the trip. The song 'Old Father Thames' was recorded by Peter Dawson at Abbey Road Studios in 1933 and by Gracie Fields
Gracie Fields
five years later. Jessie Matthews
Jessie Matthews
sings "My river" in the 1938 film Sailing Along, and the tune is the centrepiece of a major dance number near the end of the film. The Sex Pistols
Sex Pistols
played a concert on the Queen Elizabeth Riverboat on 7 June 1977, the Queen's Silver Jubilee year, while sailing down the river. The choral line "(I) (liaised) live by the river" in the song "London Calling" by the Clash refers to the River Thames. Two songs by the Kinks feature the Thames as the setting of the first song's title and, for the second song, arguably in its mention of 'the river': "Waterloo Sunset" is about a couple's meetings on Waterloo Bridge, London
London
and starts: "Dirty old river, must you keep rolling, flowing into the night?" and continues "Terry meets Julie, Waterloo station" and "...but Terry and Julie cross over the river where they feel safe and sound...". "See My Friends" continually refers to the singer's friends "playing 'cross the river" instead of the girl who "just left". Furthermore, Ray Davies
Ray Davies
as a solo artist refers to the river Thames in his " London
London
Song".[81] Ewan MacColl's "Sweet Thames, Flow Softly", written in the early 1960s, is a tragic love ballad set on trip up the river (see Edmund Spencer's love poem's refrain above) English musician Imogen Heap
Imogen Heap
wrote a song from the point of view of the River Thames
River Thames
entitled "You Know Where To Find Me". The song was released in 2012 on 18 October as the sixth single from her fourth album Sparks.[82] Major flood events[edit] London
London
flood of 1928[edit] Main article: 1928 Thames flood The 1928 Thames flood
1928 Thames flood
was a disastrous flood of the River Thames
River Thames
that affected much of riverside London
London
on 7 January 1928, as well as places further downriver. Fourteen people were drowned in London
London
and thousands were made homeless when flood waters poured over the top of the Thames Embankment
Thames Embankment
and part of the Chelsea Embankment
Chelsea Embankment
collapsed. It was the last major flood to affect central London, and, particularly following the disastrous North Sea
North Sea
flood of 1953, helped lead to the implementation of new flood-control measures that culminated in the construction of the Thames Barrier
Thames Barrier
in the 1970s. Thames Valley
Thames Valley
flood of 1947[edit] Main article: 1947 Thames flood The 1947 Thames flood
1947 Thames flood
was worst overall 20th century flood of the River Thames, affecting much of the Thames Valley
Thames Valley
as well as elsewhere in England
England
during the middle of March 1947 after a very severe winter. The floods were caused by 4.6 inches (120 mm) of rainfall (including snow); the peak flow was 61.7 billion litres (13.6 billion imperial gallons) of water per day and the damage cost a total of £12 million to repair.[83] War damage to some of the locks made matters worse. Other significant Thames floods since 1947 have occurred in 1968, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2014. Canvey Island
Canvey Island
flood of 1953[edit] Main article: Canvey Island

The flooded Canvey Island
Canvey Island
sea front, amusements and residential areas in 1953

On the night of 31 January, the North Sea
North Sea
flood of 1953 devastated the island taking the lives of 58 islanders, and led to the temporary evacuation of the 13,000 residents.[84] Canvey is consequently protected by modern sea defences comprising 15 miles (24 km) of concrete seawall.[85] Many of the victims were in the holiday bungalows of the eastern Newlands estate and perished as the water reached ceiling level. The small village area of the island is approximately two feet (0.6 m) above sea level and consequently escaped the effects of the flood. See also[edit]

UK Waterways portal England
England
portal

Dartford
Dartford
Cable Tunnel List of locations in the Port of London List of rivers of the United Kingdom Nore River and Rowing Museum Steamboat
Steamboat
– reference Thames Steamboats Subterranean rivers of London Thames Discovery Programme Thames sailing barge Thames steamers Thames, the name of one of the sea areas of the British Shipping Forecast. Tyburn (stream)

References[edit]

^ Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
map, courtesy of English Heritage ^ South Thames Estuary
Thames Estuary
And Marshes SSSI Natural England. Retrieved 16 September 2013. ^ "Thiess International Riverprize - International RiverFoundation". riverfoundation.org.au.  ^ a b Mallory, J.P. and D.Q. Adams. The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. London: Fitzroy and Dearborn, 1997: 147. ^ Jackson, Kenneth H (1955). "The Pictish Language".  in F. T. Wainright (ed.). The Problem of the Picts. Edinburgh: Nelson. pp. 129–166.  ^ Kitson, Peter R (1996). "British and European River Names'". Transactions of the Philological Society. 94 (2): 73–118. doi:10.1111/j.1467-968X.1996.tb01178.x.  ^ Henig M. & Booth P. 2000, Roman Oxfordshire, pgs.118-9 ^ Ellis Sandoz (ed.). The Roots of Liberty: Magna Carta... Indianapolis: Amagi/Liberty Fund. pp. 39, 347.  ^ Coates, Richard (1998). "A new explanation of the name of London". Transactions of the Philological Society. 96 (2): 203–229. doi:10.1111/1467-968X.00027.  ^ Cultural Heritage Resources (2005). Legendary Origins and the Origin of London's place name. Retrieved 1 November 2005. ^ As measured on Google Earth ^ "Historic River Thames" (PDF). Environment Agency. Retrieved 14 June 2010.  ^ BBC News, Gloucestershire. 15 May 2012 Could the River Thames
River Thames
be longer than the River Severn? by David Bailey ^ Dorothy Hart (9 May 2004). "Seven Springs and the Churn". The-river-thames.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2010.  ^ I Never Knew That about the River Thames
River Thames
– Christopher Winn – Google Books ^ a b c Khan, S.N., Vane, C.H., Horton, B.P., Hillier, C., Riding, J.B., Kendrick, C. (2015), "The application of δ13C, TOC, C/N geochemistry to reconstruct Holocene relative sea levels and paleoenvironments in the Thames Estuary, UK." (PDF), Journal of Quaternary Science, 30: 417–433, doi:10.1002/jqs.2784 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ a b c The Environment Agency
Environment Agency
(5 October 2011). "Environment Agency More about the Thames River Basin District". web page. The Environment Agency. Retrieved 6 November 2011.  ^ "Flow Gauging on the River Thames
River Thames
– The First 100 Years" (PDF). PDF file. Hydrological Data 1983. 1983. p. 33. Retrieved 9 November 2011.  ^ "Flow Gauging on the River Thames
River Thames
– The First 100 Years" (PDF). PDF file. Hydrological Data 1983. 1983. p. 35. Retrieved 9 November 2011.  ^ "UK Rivers Guide Book Guide to the River Thames
River Thames
– Jubilee River". Ukriversguidebook.co.uk. 23 January 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2012.  ^ " Environment Agency
Environment Agency
– A map indicating the location and route of the Jubilee River" (PDF). Web.archive.org. 30 September 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2012.  ^ Report of the designated sewerage company for the entire Thames Basin and major supplier of London's water supply: Thames Water ^ " River Thames
River Thames
Free Fishing". River Thames
River Thames
Alliance. Retrieved 10 June 2010.  ^ Peter Ackroyd London:The Biography Vintage 2001 ^ "History of the major rivers of southern Britain during the Tertiary". Quaternary Palaeoenvironments Group. 2006. Retrieved 28 November 2007.  ^ "The early Ice Age". www.geoessex.org.uk. Retrieved 7 February 2016.  ^ Essex
Essex
Wildlife Trust, The Geology of Essex ^ a b c "History of the northwest European rivers during the past three million years". Quaternary Palaeoenvironments Group. 2007. Retrieved 28 November 2007.  ^ "Retro: A river worth preserving". Ealing Gazette. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2012.  ^ a b Anthony David Mills (2001). Oxford
Oxford
Dictionary of London
London
Place Names. Oxford
Oxford
University Press. ISBN 0-19-280106-6.  ^ The New Oxford
Oxford
Dictionary of English (1998) ISBN 0-19-861263-X – p.582 "East End the part of London
London
east of the City as far as the River Lea, including the Docklands" ^ Office for National Statistics. (2008). Statistics: Canvey Island ^ Peter Ackroyd, Thames: The Biography. 275. ^ Rare seahorses breeding in Thames BBC News, 7 April 2008 ^ Stevenson, Chris (19 August 2013). "Seal count discovers over 700 in Thames Estuary". The Independent. London. Retrieved 23 August 2013.  ^ "Whales, dolphins and seals returning to the Thames". Wildlife Extra. September 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2013.  ^ "Lost whale dies after rescue bid". BBC News. 21 January 2006. Retrieved 22 October 2007.  ^ Needham, P. (1985). " Neolithic
Neolithic
And Bronze Age
Bronze Age
Settlement on the Buried Floodplains of Runnymede". Oxford
Oxford
Journal of Archaeology. 4: 125–137. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0092.1985.tb00237.x.  ^ Lamdin-Whymark, H. (2001). " Neolithic
Neolithic
activity on the floodplain of the river Thames at Dorney". Lithics. 22.  ^ a b The Physique of Middlesex, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 1: Physique, Archaeology, Domesday, Ecclesiastical Organisation, The Jews, Religious Houses, Education of Working Classes to 1870, Private Education from Sixteenth Century (1969), pp. 1–10. Date Retrieved 11 August 2007. ^ Gaius Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
De Bello Gallico, Book 5, §§ 11, 18 ^ a b Peter Ackroyd, Thames: The Biography, New York: Doubleday, 2007. "Filthy River" ^ "Frost Fairs, London, UK". BBC. Retrieved 21 March 2007.  ^ "London, River Thames
River Thames
and Tower Bridge". VR London. Retrieved 21 March 2007.  ^ "Thames and Waterways". London
London
Borough of Hammersmith
Hammersmith
& Fulham. Retrieved 17 April 2015.  ^ Jonathan Schneer, "The Thames" 145-146 ^ Peter Ackroyd, "Thames: Sacred River" 272-273 ^ a b Peter Ackroyd, Thames: The Biography. 272 & 274. ^ Peter Ackroyd, "Thames: Sacred River" 272 ^ Peter Ackroyd "Thames: Sacred River" 274 ^ Environment Agency
Environment Agency
(2005). Jubilee River. ^ "Queen goes green to light Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
with hydro-electric power". Daily Mail. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2014.  ^ " Salters Steamers
Salters Steamers
website". Salterssteamers.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2010.  ^ "French Brothers website". Boat-trips.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2010.  ^ Hart, Dorothy (1 January 2000). "Floating Down the River website". The-river-thames.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2010.  ^ "Thames lifeboat service launched". BBC News. 2 January 2002. Retrieved 17 May 2010.  ^ Port of London
London
Authority. "Terminal locations". Retrieved 12 May 2008.  ^ Port of London. "Thames Bylaws 2012" (PDF). p. 20. Retrieved 24 February 2014.  ^ "Victoria County History of Oxfordshire: Rivers and river navigation". British-history.ac.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2010.  ^ Tideway. "History - Tideway
Tideway
Reconnecting London
London
with the River Thames". Tideway. Retrieved 2018-02-18.  ^ Vidal, John (2011-06-09). "Thousands of fish dead after Thames sewerage overflow". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-02-18.  ^ Jeffries, Stuart (2014-07-22). "Water, super-sewers and the filth threatening the River Thames". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-02-18.  ^ Tideway. " Tideway
Tideway
Reconnecting London
London
with the River Thames". Tideway. Retrieved 2018-02-18.  ^ "'Super sewer' plans to go ahead". BBC News. 2014-09-12. Retrieved 2018-02-18.  ^ Tideway. "River ecology - Tideway
Tideway
Reconnecting London
London
with the River Thames". Tideway. Retrieved 2018-02-18.  ^ a b c Vane, C.H., Beriro, D. and Turner G. (2015), "Rise and fall of Mercury (Hg) pollution in sediment cores of the Thames Estuary, London, UK." (PDF), Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 105: 285–296, doi:10.1017/s1755691015000158 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Vane, C.H. Jones, D.G., and Lister T.R. (2009), "Mercury contamination in surface sediments and sediment cores of the Mersey Estuary, UK." (PDF), Marine Pollution Bulletin, 58: 940–946, doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.03.006 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ a b Lopes dos Santos, R.A. and Vane, C.H. (2016), "Signatures of tetraether lipids reveal anthropogenic overprinting of natural organic matter in sediments of the Thames estuary, UK." (PDF), Organic Geochemistry, 93: 68–76, doi:10.1016/j.orggeochem.2016.01.003 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) ^ British Rowing
British Rowing
— Clubs ^ Devizes to Westminster
Westminster
International Canoe Race. Dwrace.org.uk. Retrieved on 17 July 2013. ^ Lewis Pugh
Lewis Pugh
(May 2010). "Achieving the Impossible. A Fearless Leader. A Fragile Earth". Simon & Schuster.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ "New by-law bans swimming in River Thames". BBC News. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.  ^ "The Big Thames Open Water Swim Series". Macmillan Cancer Support. Retrieved 1 July 2012.  ^ "Humanrace: Windsor". Speedo Open Water Swim Series. Retrieved 1 July 2012.  ^ "The Henley Swim". Retrieved 1 July 2012.  ^ "Walliams reflects on epic 140-mile Thames charity swim". BBC News. Retrieved 1 July 2012.  ^ e.g. The Bathing Place of Athens, Eton opened by "Hiatt C Baker in memory of [his] son, a brilliant swimmer who spent many of the happiest hours of his boyhood here, killed in a flying accident in August 1917 while still a member of the school., Bathing Place of Athens memorial stone and Bathing Place of Athens notice "In 1911 local police constable, Frederick Shattock for the village of Laleham
Laleham
ran swimming lessons for young boys from the end of Vicarage Lane]...charging 1 shilling per season".[citation needed] ^ See above events, shallow bathing areas and metal steps by certain houses on geograph.org.uk. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/2016/06/24/independence-day-resurgence-and-brexit-is-this-the-most-brillian/ ^ "Harvard University Press: The Wind in the Willows: An Annotated Edition by Kenneth Grahame". Hup.harvard.edu. Retrieved 12 April 2010.  ^ "Kinks Song List". Kindakinks.net. Retrieved 2 April 2012.  ^ You Know Where To Find Me. Imogen Heap. Retrieved on 17 July 2013. ^ [1] Archived 6 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Canvey Island's 13,000 refugees. (2 February 1953). The Guardian (London), p. 1. Retrieved 29 July 2008. ^ " Canvey Island
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Drainage scheme 2006". Environment agency. (May Avenue Pumping Station information board).

Further reading[edit]

Ackroyd, Peter (2007). Thames: sacred river. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 978-0-7011-7284-8. OCLC 137313198.  Cove-Smith, Chris (2006). The River Thames
River Thames
book: a guide to the Thames from the Barrier to Cricklade
Cricklade
with the River Wey, Basingstoke Canal and Kennet & Avon Canal to Great Bedwyn (4th ed.). St. Ives, Cambridgeshire: Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson. ISBN 978-0-85288-892-6. OCLC 67613526.  Dix, Frank L. (1985). Royal river highway: a history of the passenger boats and services on the River Thames. Newton Abbot; North Pomfret, Vt.: David & Charles. ISBN 978-0-7153-8005-5. OCLC 14355016.  Milne, Gustav; Martin Bates; Mike D. Webber (June 1997). "Problems, potential and partial solutions: an archaeological study of the tidal Thames, England". World Archaeology. 29 (1–special issue, "Riverine archaeology," ed. James Graham–Campbell): 130–46. doi:10.1080/00438243.1997.9980367. ISSN 0043-8243.  Oliver, Stuart (June 2010). "Navigability and the improvement of the river Thames, 1605–1815". Geographical Journal. 176 (2): 164–77. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4959.2010.00354.x. ISSN 0016-7398.  Sinclair, Mick (2007). The Thames: a cultural history. Oxford; New York: Oxford
Oxford
University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-531492-2. OCLC 77520502.  Thacker, Fred S. (1968). The Thames Highway. 2: locks and weirs ([1st ed.], new impression ed.). Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 978-0-7153-4233-6. OCLC 55209571.  The Royal river: the Thames, from source to sea: descriptive, historical, pictorial. Henley-on-Thames: Gresham. 1983 [1885]. ISBN 978-0-946095-05-6. OCLC 17631247.  Williams, Roger (2015). Father Thames. London: Bristol
Bristol
Book Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9928466-1-9. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thames.

Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide – Pictures and history and tides and poetry and conditions The River Thames
River Thames
Society Thames Path
Thames Path
National Trail River Thames
River Thames
London
London
Hired Boats and News Blog BBC 4 documentary In search of Arcadia features the river

v t e

River Thames, England

Counties

Gloucestershire Wiltshire Oxfordshire Berkshire Buckinghamshire Greater London Surrey Kent Essex

Source

Thames Head

Mouth

Thames Estuary

Settlements

Ashton Keynes Cricklade Castle Eaton Lechlade Oxford Abingdon Wallingford Goring-on-Thames Reading Henley-on-Thames Marlow Maidenhead Windsor Eton Staines-upon-Thames Weybridge London Dartford Gravesend Tilbury Canvey Island Southend-on-Sea

Major tributaries

Churn Leach Cole Coln Windrush Evenlode Cherwell Ock Thame Pang Kennet Loddon Colne Wey Mole Brent Wandle Effra Westbourne Fleet Ravensbourne ( Deptford
Deptford
Creek) Lea Darent Ingrebourne

Major crossings

Dartford
Dartford
Crossing Blackwall Tunnel Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe
Tunnel Thames Tunnel Tower Bridge London
London
Bridge Millennium Bridge Blackfriars Bridge

Hungerford Bridge Westminster
Westminster
Bridge Teddington
Teddington
Lock Staines Bridge Windsor Bridge Maidenhead
Maidenhead
Railway Bridge Marlow Bridge Folly Bridge (all)

Longest UK rivers

Severn Thames Trent Great Ouse Wye Ure/Ouse Tay Spey Clyde Tweed Avon Nene Eden Dee

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 237292804 GND: 41195

.