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The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through
southern England Southern England, or the South of England, also known as the South, is an area of England consisting of its southernmost part, with cultural, economic and political differences from the Midlands The Midlands is the central part of England ...

southern England
including
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
. At , it is the longest river entirely in England and the second-longest in the United Kingdom, after the
River Severn , name_etymology = , image = SevernFromCastleCB.JPG , image_size = 288 , image_caption = The river seen from Shrewsbury Castle Shrewsbury Castle is a red sandstone castle in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Englan ...
. It flows through
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

Oxford
(where it is commonly called the Isis),
Reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography An ...
,
Henley-on-Thames Henley-on-Thames ( ) is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares ...
and
Windsor Windsor may refer to: Places Australia *Windsor, New South Wales ** Municipality of Windsor, a former local government area *Windsor, Queensland, a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland **Shire of Windsor, a former local government authority around Winds ...

Windsor
. The lower reaches of the river are called the
Tideway The Tideway is that part of the River Thames in England which is subject to tides. This stretch of water is downstream from Teddington Lock. The Tideway comprises the upper Thames Estuary including the Pool of London. Tidal activity Depending o ...
, derived from its long
tidal reach A reach is a length of a stream, river, or arm of the sea extending up into the land, usually suggesting a straight, level, uninterrupted stretch. They are traditionally defined by the Point of sail#Reaching, capabilities of sailing boats, as a st ...
up to
Teddington Lock Teddington Lock is a complex of three locks and a weir on the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London London is the ca ...
. It rises at
Thames Head Thames Head is a group of seasonal Spring (hydrology), springs that arise near the village of Coates, Gloucestershire, Coates in the Cotswolds, about three miles south-west of the town of Cirencester, in the county of Gloucestershire, England. ...
in
Gloucestershire Gloucestershire ( abbreviated Glos) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chamber ...

Gloucestershire
, and flows into the
North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
via the
Thames Estuary The Thames Estuary is where the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the The Isis, River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At , it is the longest river entirely in Engl ...
. The Thames drains the whole of
Greater London Greater London is an Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England, administrative area governed by the Greater London Authority, and a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of England that covers the bulk of the same area ...

Greater London
. Its tidal section, reaching up to Teddington Lock, includes most of its London stretch and has a rise and fall of . 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 A drainage basin is any area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet, such as into a river, bay, or other body of water. The drainage basin includes all the surface water from surface runoff, rain runoff, snowm ...

drainage basin
. In
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
, the
Tay
Tay
achieves more than double the Thames' average discharge from a drainage basin that is 60% smaller. Along its course are 45
navigation lock A lock is a device used for raising and lowering boats, ship A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missi ...
s with accompanying weirs. Its
catchment area In human geography, a catchment area is the area from which a city, service or institution attracts a population that uses its services. For example, a school catchment area is the geographic area from which students are eligible to attend a loca ...

catchment area
covers a large part of south-eastern and a small part of western England; the river is fed by at least 50 named tributaries. 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 Scientific Interest, with the largest being in the
North Kent Marshes, then a bank and one of the Pools managed by the RSPB, then the chalk outcrop, heavily quarried, where one finds Cliffe village. Image:PoolReeds0258.JPG, Cliffe pools with a bird population, the site is still used for mineral extraction The North K ...
and covering .


Etymology

According to Mallory and Adams, the Thames, from
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured sys ...
''Temese'', is derived from the
Brittonic Brittonic or Brythonic may refer to: *Common Brittonic, or Brythonic, the Celtic language anciently spoken in Great Britain *Brittonic languages, a branch of the Celtic languages descended from Common Brittonic *Celtic Britons, Britons (Celtic peop ...
name for the river, ''Tamesas'' (from *''tamēssa''),Mallory, J.P. and D.Q. Adams (1947). ''The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture''. London: Fitzroy and Dearborn. p. 147. recorded in Latin as ''Tamesis'' and yielding modern Welsh ''Tafwys'' "Thames". The name may have meant "dark" and can be compared to other
cognate In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Itali ...
s such as Russian темно (
Proto-Slavic Proto-Slavic is the unattested, reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for ...
*''tĭmĭnŭ''),
Lithuanian Lithuanian may refer to: * Lithuanians Lithuanians ( lt, lietuviai, singular ''lietuvis/lietuvė'') are a Balts, Baltic ethnic group. They are native to Lithuania, where they number around 2,561,300 people. Another million or more make up the Lith ...
''tamsi'' "dark", Latvian ''tumsa'' "darkness",
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
'' tamas'' and Welsh ''tywyll'' "darkness" and
Middle Irish Middle Irish, sometimes called Middle Gaelic ( ga, An Mheán-Ghaeilge), is the Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of ...
''teimen'' "dark grey". The origin is shared by many other river names in Britain, such as the
River Tamar The Tamar (; kw, Dowr Tamar) is a river in south west England, that forms most of the border between Devon (to the east) and Cornwall (to the west). A part of the Tamar valley is a World Heritage Site due to its historic mining activities. Th ...
at the border of
Devon Devon (, archaically known as Devonshire) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Ch ...

Devon
and
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a historic county and ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are ar ...

Cornwall
, several rivers named Tame in
the Midlands The Midlands is the central part of England and a cultural area that broadly corresponds to the early medieval Mercia, Kingdom of Mercia. The Midlands region is bordered by Northern England and Southern England. The Midlands were important in th ...
and
North Yorkshire North Yorkshire is the largest non-metropolitan county A non-metropolitan county, or colloquially, shire county, is a county-level entity in England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and ...

North Yorkshire
, the Tavy on
Dartmoor Dartmoor is an upland area in southern Devon Devon (, archaically known as Devonshire) is a Counties of England, county in South West England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is bou ...

Dartmoor
, the
Team A team is a group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal A goal is an idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as ...
of the North East, the
Teifi , name_etymology = , image = File:Llyn Teifi - geograph.org.uk - 41773.jpg , image_size = , image_caption = Llyn Teifi, the source of the Teifi , map = , map_size = , map_caption ...
and
Teme The River Teme (pronounced ; cy, Afon Tefeidiad) rises in Mid Wales, south of Newtown, Powys, Newtown, and flows southeast roughly forming the border between England and Wales for several miles through Knighton, Powys, Knighton before becoming ...

Teme
of
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
, the Teviot in the
Scottish Borders The Scottish Borders ( sco, the Mairches, 'the Marches'; gd, Crìochan na h-Alba) is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders the City of Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Midlothian, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian an ...
and a Thames tributary the
Thame Thame is a market town A market town is a European that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the , a market right, which allowed it to host a regular ; this distinguished it from a or . In Britain, small rural towns with a hinterl ...
.
Kenneth H. Jackson Prof Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson CBE FRSE Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's national academy of science and Literature, letters, judged to be ...
has proposed that the name of the Thames is not
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
(and of unknown meaning), while Peter Kitson suggested that it is Indo-European but originated before the
Britons The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed ...

Britons
and has a name indicating "muddiness" from a root ''*tā-'', 'melt'. 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 . It is believed that Tamesubugus' name was derived from that of the river. Tamese was referred to as a place, not a river in the
Ravenna Cosmography The ''Ravenna Cosmography'' ( la, Ravennatis Anonymi Cosmographia,  "The Cosmography of the Unknown Ravennese") is a list of place-names covering the world from India to Ireland, compiled by an anonymous cleric in Ravenna around 700 AD. Textu ...
(c. AD 700). The river's name has always been pronounced with a simple ''t'' /t/; the
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured sys ...
spelling was typically ''Temese'' and the Brittonic form ''Tamesis''. A similar spelling from 1210, "Tamisiam" (the accusative case of "Tamisia", see Kingston upon Thames#Early history), is found in the
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a Royal charter, royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor, on ...

Magna Carta
. The Thames through
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

Oxford
is sometimes called
the Isis "The Isis" () is an alternative name for the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England Southern England, or the South of England, also known ...
. Historically, and especially in
Victorian Victorian or Victorians may refer to: 19th century * Victorian era, British history during Queen Victoria's 19th-century reign ** Victorian architecture ** Victorian house ** Victorian decorative arts ** Victorian fashion ** Victorian literature ...
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 (or Dorchester-on-Thames) is a village and Civil parishes in England, civil parish in Oxfordshire, about northwest of Wallingford, Oxfordshire, Wallingford and southeast of Oxford. The town is a few hundred yards from the ...
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 , nativename_a = , nativename_r = , logo = Ordnance Survey 2015 Logo.svg , logo_width = 240px , logo_caption = , seal = , seal_width = , seal_caption = , picture = , picture_width = , picture_caption = , formed = , preceding1 = , di ...
maps still label the Thames as "River Thames or Isis" down to Dorchester. 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 In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and floor function Truncation of positive real numbers can be done using the floor function. Given a numb ...
of ''Tamesis'', the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
name for the Thames. Sculptures titled ''Tamesis'' and ''
Isis Isis (; ''Ēse''; ; Meroitic language, Meroitic: ''Wos'' 'a''or ''Wusa'') was a major ancient Egyptian deities, goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. Isis was first mentioned in the Ol ...

Isis
'' by
Anne Seymour Damer Anne Seymour Damer, ''née'' Conway, (8 November 1748 – 28 May 1828) was an English sculptor. Once described as a 'female genius' by Horace Walpole, she was trained in sculpture by Giuseppe Ceracchi and John Bacon. Influenced by the Enlighten ...

Anne Seymour Damer
can be found on the
bridge A bridge is a structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules t ...

bridge
at
Henley-on-Thames Henley-on-Thames ( ) is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares ...
,
Oxfordshire Oxfordshire is a landlocked county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), ...

Oxfordshire
(the original terracotta and plaster models were exhibited at the
Royal Academy The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is an art institution based in Burlington House Burlington House is a building on Piccadilly in Mayfair, London. It was originally a private Palladian architecture, Palladian mansion owned by the Earl of B ...

Royal Academy
,
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
, in 1785. They are now on show at the
River and Rowing Museum The River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames Henley-on-Thames ( ) is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them ...
in Henley).
Richard Coates Richard Coates (born 16 April 1949, in Grimsby Grimsby, also Great Grimsby, is a port town and the administrative centre of North East Lincolnshire, England, on the South Bank of the Humber Estuary, close to the North Sea. It was the home ...
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 Londinium, also known as Roman London, was the capital of Roman Britain during most of the period of Roman rule. It was originally a settlement established on the current site of the City of London around AD 47–50. It sat at a key cross ...
, from the Indo-European roots *''pleu-'' "flow" and *''-nedi'' "river" meaning something like the flowing river or the wide flowing unfordable river. The river gives its name to three informal areas: the
Thames Valley The Thames Valley is an informally-defined sub-region of South East England, centred on the River Thames west of London, with Oxford as a major centre. Its boundaries vary with context. The area is a major tourist destination and economic hub, i ...

Thames Valley
, a region of England around the river between Oxford and West London; the
Thames Gateway upright=1.2, Districts of the Thames Gateway area, formed of London boroughs (brown), non-metropolitan districts (green) and unitary authority">unitary authorities A unitary authority is a local authority Local government is a generic term fo ...
; and the greatly overlapping
Thames Estuary The Thames Estuary is where the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the The Isis, River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At , it is the longest river entirely in Engl ...
around the tidal Thames to the east of London and including the waterway itself.
Thames Valley Police Thames Valley Police is the territorial police force A territorial police force is a police service that is responsible for an area defined by sub-national boundaries, distinguished from other police services which deal with the entire country ...
is a formal body that takes its name from the river, covering three
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
. In non-administrative use, the river's name is used in those of
Thames Valley University The University of West London (UWL) is a public research university in the United Kingdom which has campuses in Ealing and Brentford in Greater London, as well as in Reading, Berkshire. The university has roots back to 1860, when the Lady Byro ...
,
Thames Water Thames Water Utilities Ltd, known as Thames Water, is a large private utility company responsible for the public water supply Water supply is the provision of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorle ...
,
Thames Television Thames Television, commonly simplified to just Thames, was a Broadcast license, franchise holder for a region of the British ITV (TV network), ITV television network serving Greater London, London and surrounding areas from 30 July 1968 until the ...
, publishing company
Thames & Hudson Thames & Hudson (also Thames and Hudson and sometimes T&H for brevity) is a publisher of illustrated books on art, architecture, design, and visual culture.Thameslink Thameslink is a 24-hour, 115-station (32 managed) main-line route in the Rail transport in the United Kingdom, British railway system, running from , , , and via central London to Sutton railway station (London), Sutton, , , Rainham railway s ...

Thameslink
(north–south rail service passing through
central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the ...
) and
South Thames College South Thames Colleges Group (STCG) is a large further education institution operating four colleges in south-west London: South Thames College, Kingston College, Merton College, and Carshalton College. As of 2020, STCG has over 5,300 students each ...
. An example of its use in the names of historic entities is the
Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company Warships being built at the eastern site in or slightly before 1902 The Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company, Limited was a shipyard A shipyard (also called a dockyard) is a place where ships are built and repaired. These can be yacht ...
.


Administration

The administrative powers of the
Thames Conservancy The Thames Conservancy (formally the Conservators of the River Thames) was a body responsible for the management of the River Thames, that river in England. It was founded in 1857 to replace the jurisdiction of the City of London up to Staines-up ...
to control river traffic and manage flows have been taken on, with some modifications by the
Environment Agency The Environment Agency (EA) is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Teleg ...
and, in respect of the Tideway part of the river, such powers are split between the agency and the
Port of London Authority The Port of London Authority (PLA) is a self-funding public trust established on 31 March 1909 in accordance with the Port of London Act 1908 to govern the Port of London. Its responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames and its c ...
.


Human activity

The marks of human activity, in some cases dating back to
Pre-Roman BritainThe term Pre-Roman Britain could be used to refer to: *British Iron Age – the period immediately before the arrival of the Romans *Prehistoric Britain in general {{dab ...
, 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
watermill A watermill or water mill is a mill that uses hydropower Hydropower (from el, ὕδωρ, "water"), also known as water power, is the use of falling or fast-running water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, t ...

watermill
s, as well as prehistoric
burial mound The Royal mounds of Gamla Uppsala in Sweden from the 5th and 6th centuries originally the site had 2,000 to 3,000 tumuli, but due to quarrying and agriculture only 250 remain. A tumulus (plural tumuli) is a mound A mound is a heaped pil ...

burial mound
s. The lower Thames in the Roman era was a shallow waterway winding through marshes. But centuries of human intervention have transformed it into a deep tidal canal flowing between 200 miles of solid walls; these defend a floodplain where 1.5 million people work and live. A major maritime route is formed for much of its length for shipping and supplies: through the
Port of London The Port of London is that part of the River Thames in England lying between Teddington Lock and the defined boundary (since 1968, a line drawn from Foulness Point in Essex via Gunfleet Old Lighthouse to Warden Point in Kent) with the North Sea ...
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 John Elliot Burns (20 October 1858 – 24 January 1943) was an English trade unionist and politician, particularly associated with London politics and Battersea. He was a socialist and then a Liberal Party (UK), Liberal Member of Parliament and ...

John Burns
as "liquid history". Two broad canals link the river to other river basins: the
Kennet and Avon Canal The Kennet and Avon Canal is a waterway A waterway is any navigable A body of water ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countr ...
(
Reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography An ...
to
Bath Bath may refer to: * Bathing, immersion in a fluid ** Bathtub, a large open container for water, in which a person may wash their body ** Public bathing, a public place where people bathe * Thermae, ancient Roman public bathing facilities Plac ...
) and the
Grand Union Canal The Grand Union Canal in England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the eas ...

Grand Union Canal
(London to the Midlands). The Grand Union effectively bypassed the earlier, narrow and winding
Oxford Canal The Oxford Canal is a narrow canal in central England linking Oxford with Bedworth (between Coventry and Nuneaton on the Coventry Canal) via Banbury and Rugby, Warwickshire, Rugby. Completed in 1790, it connects to the River Thames at Oxford a ...
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 The Thames and Severn Canal is a canal Canals are waterways Channel (geography), channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicles. They may also help with irrigation. It can be thought of as ...
(via
Stroud Stroud is a and in the centre of , England. It is the main town in . Below the western of the , at the meeting point of the , the town is noted for its steep streets. The Cotswold surrounds the town, and the path passes by it to the wes ...

Stroud
), which operated until 1927 (to the west coast of England), the
Wey and Arun Canal The Wey and Arun Canal is a partially open, 23-mile-long (37 km) canal Canals are waterways Channel (geography), channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicles. They may also help wit ...
to
Littlehampton Littlehampton is a town, seaside resort and pleasure harbour, and the most populous civil parish in the Arun District of West Sussex West Sussex is a Counties of the United Kingdom, county in the south of England, bordering East Sussex ( ...
, which operated until 1871 (to the south coast), and the
Wilts and Berks Canal The Wilts & Berks Canal is a canal in the Historic counties of England, historic counties of Wiltshire and Berkshire, England, linking the Kennet and Avon Canal at Semington Locks, Semington, near Melksham, to the River Thames at Abingdon, Oxfor ...
.
Rowing Rowing is the act of propelling a boat using the motion of oars in the water by displacing water to propel the boat forward. Rowing and paddling are similar. However, rowing requires oars to have a mechanical connection with the boat, while p ...
and sailing clubs are common along the Thames, which is navigable to such vessels.
Kayaking Kayaking is the use of a kayak A kayak is a small, narrow watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with o ...

Kayaking
and
canoeing Canoeing is an activity which involves paddling Paddling with regard to watercraft is the act of manually propelling a boat using a paddle. The paddle, which consists of one or two blades joined to a shaft, is also used to steer the vessel. The ...
also take place. Major annual events include the
Henley Royal Regatta Henley Royal Regatta (or Henley Regatta, its original name pre-dating Royal patronage) is a Rowing (sport), rowing event held annually on the River Thames by the town of Henley-on-Thames, England. It was established on 26 March 1839. It differ ...
and
the Boat Race The Boat Race is an annual set of rowing Rowing is the act of propelling a boat using the motion of oars in the water by displacing water to propel the boat forward. Rowing and paddling are similar. However, rowing requires oars to ha ...
, while the Thames has been used during two
Summer Olympic Games The Summer Olympic Games, also known as the Games of the Olympiad, are a major international multi-sport event A multi-sport event is an organized sporting Sporting may refer to: *Sport, recreational games and play *Sporting (neighborhood), ...
:
1908 Events January * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar The Gregorian calendar is the used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by as a modification of t ...
(
rowing Rowing is the act of propelling a boat using the motion of oars in the water by displacing water to propel the boat forward. Rowing and paddling are similar. However, rowing requires oars to have a mechanical connection with the boat, while p ...
) and
1948 Events January * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the . There are 364 days remaining until the end of the year (365 in s). This day is known as since the day marks the beginning of the year. __TOC__ ...
(
rowing Rowing is the act of propelling a boat using the motion of oars in the water by displacing water to propel the boat forward. Rowing and paddling are similar. However, rowing requires oars to have a mechanical connection with the boat, while p ...
and
canoeing Canoeing is an activity which involves paddling Paddling with regard to watercraft is the act of manually propelling a boat using a paddle. The paddle, which consists of one or two blades joined to a shaft, is also used to steer the vessel. The ...
). Safe headwaters and reaches are a summer venue for organised swimming, which is prohibited on safety grounds in a stretch centred on
Central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the ...
.


Physical and natural aspects

The usually quoted
source Source or subsource or ''variation'', may refer to: Research * Historical document * Historical source * Source (intelligence) or subsource, typically a confidential provider of non open-source intelligence * Source (journalism), a person, public ...
of the Thames is at
Thames Head Thames Head is a group of seasonal Spring (hydrology), springs that arise near the village of Coates, Gloucestershire, Coates in the Cotswolds, about three miles south-west of the town of Cirencester, in the county of Gloucestershire, England. ...
(at ). This is about north of Kemble parish church in southern
Gloucestershire Gloucestershire ( abbreviated Glos) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chamber ...

Gloucestershire
, near the town of
Cirencester Cirencester (, ; see #Pronunciation, below for more variations) is a market town in Gloucestershire, England, west of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold (distr ...
, in the
Cotswolds The Cotswolds ( , ) is an area in south-central England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea ...
. However, Seven Springs near
Cheltenham Cheltenham () is a large spa town and borough on the edge of the Cotswolds in the county of Gloucestershire, England. Cheltenham became known as a health and holiday spa town resort following the discovery of mineral springs in 1716, and claims ...

Cheltenham
, where the
Churn Churn may refer to: * Churn drill, large-diameter drilling machine large holes appropriate for holes in the ground Dairy-product terms * Butter churn, device for churning butter * Churning (butter), the process of creating butter out of milk or ...
(which feeds into the Thames near
Cricklade Cricklade is a small town and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, ...
) rises, is also sometimes quoted as the Thames' source, as this location is farthest from the mouth, and adds some to the river's length. At Seven Springs above the source is a stone with the Latin
hexameterHexameter is a metrical line of verses consisting of six feet (a "foot" here is the pulse, or major accent, of words in an English line of poetry; in Greek and Latin a "foot" is not an accent, but describes various combinations of syllables). It wa ...

hexameter
inscription "Hic tuus o Tamesine pater septemgeminus fons", which means "Here, O Father Thames, your sevenfold source". The
springs Spring(s) may refer to: Common uses * Spring (season), a season of the year * Spring (device), a mechanical device that stores energy * Spring (hydrology), a natural source of water * Spring (mathematics), a geometric surface in the shape of a heli ...
at Seven Springs flow throughout the year, while those at Thames Head are only seasonal (a winterbourne). The Thames is the longest river entirely in England. (The longest river in the United Kingdom, the
Severn , name_etymology = , image = SevernFromCastleCB.JPG , image_size = 288 , image_caption = The river seen from Shrewsbury Castle , map = RiverSevernMap.jpg , map_size = 288 , map_ca ...
, flows partly in
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...

Wales
.) However, as the River Churn, sourced at Seven Springs, is longer than the section of the Thames from its traditional source at Thames Head to the confluence, the overall length of the Thames measured from Seven Springs, at , is greater than the Severn's length of . 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 by a longer tributary which could further increase the length of the Thames, with its source in the grounds of the National Star College at Ullenwood. The Thames flows through or alongside Ashton Keynes,
Cricklade Cricklade is a small town and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, ...
, Lechlade,
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

Oxford
, Abingdon-on-Thames, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, Wallingford, Goring-on-Thames and Streatley, Berkshire, Streatley, Pangbourne and Whitchurch-on-Thames,
Reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography An ...
, Wargrave,
Henley-on-Thames Henley-on-Thames ( ) is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares ...
, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, Marlow, Maidenhead,
Windsor Windsor may refer to: Places Australia *Windsor, New South Wales ** Municipality of Windsor, a former local government area *Windsor, Queensland, a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland **Shire of Windsor, a former local government authority around Winds ...

Windsor
and Eton, Berkshire, Eton, Staines-upon-Thames and Egham, Chertsey, Shepperton, Weybridge, Sunbury-on-Thames, Walton-on-Thames, 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 faces Hampton, London, Hampton, and in
Greater London Greater London is an Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England, administrative area governed by the Greater London Authority, and a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of England that covers the bulk of the same area ...

Greater London
the Thames passes Hampton Court Palace, Surbiton, Kingston upon Thames, Teddington, Twickenham, Richmond, London, Richmond (with a famous view of the Thames from Richmond Hill), Syon House, Kew, Brentford, Chiswick, Barnes, London, Barnes, Hammersmith, Fulham, Putney, Wandsworth, Battersea and Chelsea, London, Chelsea. In
central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the ...
, the river passes Pimlico and Vauxhall, and then forms one of the principal axes of the city, from the Palace of 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, London, Blackwall, New Charlton and Silvertown, before flowing through the Thames Barrier, which protects central London from flooding by storm surges. Below the barrier, the river passes Woolwich, Thamesmead, Dagenham, Erith, Purfleet, Dartford, West Thurrock, Northfleet, Tilbury and Gravesend before entering the
Thames Estuary The Thames Estuary is where the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the The Isis, River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At , it is the longest river entirely in Engl ...
near Southend-on-Sea.


Sea level

Sediment cores up to 10 m deep collected by the British Geological Survey from the banks of the tidal River Thames contain geochemical information and fossils which provide a 10,000-year record of sea-level change. 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. 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.


Catchment area and discharge

The Thames River Basin District, including the Medway catchment, covers an area of . The river basin is a mixture of urban through to rural in the east and northern parts while the western parts of the catchment are predominantly rural with many towns to a suburban layout such as, archetypically Swindon. 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 Reservoir#Bank-side reservoir, bank-side reservoirs. The Thames itself provides two-thirds of London's drinking water while groundwater supplies about 40 percent of public water supplies in the total catchment area. Groundwater is an important water source, especially in the drier months, so maintaining its quality and quantity is extremely important. Groundwater is vulnerable to surface pollution, especially in highly urbanised areas.


The non-tidal section

Brooks, canals and rivers, within an area of , combine to form 38 main tributaries feeding the Thames between its source and
Teddington Lock Teddington Lock is a complex of three locks and a weir on the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London London is the ca ...
. This is the usual tidal limit; however, high spring tides can raise the head water level in the reach above 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 Lock, Molesey weir, which is visible from the towpath and Hampton Court Bridge, bridge beside Hampton Court Palace. Before 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 Churn may refer to: * Churn drill, large-diameter drilling machine large holes appropriate for holes in the ground Dairy-product terms * Butter churn, device for churning butter * Churning (butter), the process of creating butter out of milk or ...
, River Leach, Leach, River Cole, Wiltshire, Cole, River Ray, Wiltshire, Ray, River Coln, Coln, River Windrush, Windrush, River Evenlode, Evenlode, River Cherwell, Cherwell, River Ock, Ock,
Thame Thame is a market town A market town is a European that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the , a market right, which allowed it to host a regular ; this distinguished it from a or . In Britain, small rural towns with a hinterl ...
, River Pang, Pang, River Kennet, Kennet, River Loddon, Loddon, River Colne, Hertfordshire, Colne, River Wey, Wey and River Mole, Surrey, Mole. In addition, there are occasional backwaters and artificial cuts that form islands, distributary, distributaries (most numerous in the case of the River Colne, Hertfordshire, Colne), and man-made distributaries such as the Longford River. Three canals intersect this stretch: the
Oxford Canal The Oxford Canal is a narrow canal in central England linking Oxford with Bedworth (between Coventry and Nuneaton on the Coventry Canal) via Banbury and Rugby, Warwickshire, Rugby. Completed in 1790, it connects to the River Thames at Oxford a ...
,
Kennet and Avon Canal The Kennet and Avon Canal is a waterway A waterway is any navigable A body of water ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countr ...
and Wey Navigation. Its longest artificial secondary channel (cut), the Jubilee River, was built between Maidenhead and Windsor for flood relief and completed in 2002. The non-tidal section of the river is managed by the
Environment Agency The Environment Agency (EA) is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Teleg ...
, 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 should be rare in the non-tidal Thames. However, storm sewage overflows are still common in almost all the main tributaries of the Thames despite claims by Thames Water to the contrary.


The tidal section

Below Teddington Lock (about upstream of the Thames Estuary), the river is subject to tide, tidal activity from the
North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
. Before the lock was installed, the river was tidal as far as Staines, about upstream. London, capital of Roman Britain, was established on two hills, now known as Cornhill, London, Cornhill and Ludgate Hill. These provided a firm base for a trading centre at the lowest possible point on the Thames. A river crossing was built at the site of London Bridge. London Bridge is now used as the basis for published tide tables giving the times of tide, high tide. High tide reaches Putney about 30 minutes later than London Bridge, and Teddington about an hour later. The tidal reach, tidal stretch of the river is known as "the
Tideway The Tideway is that part of the River Thames in England which is subject to tides. This stretch of water is downstream from Teddington Lock. The Tideway comprises the upper Thames Estuary including the Pool of London. Tidal activity Depending o ...
". Tide tables are published by the
Port of London Authority The Port of London Authority (PLA) is a self-funding public trust established on 31 March 1909 in accordance with the Port of London Act 1908 to govern the Port of London. Its responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames and its c ...
and are available online. Times of high and low tides are also posted on Twitter. The principal tributaries of the River Thames on the Tideway include the rivers River Crane, London, Crane, River Brent, Brent, River Wandle, Wandle, River Ravensbourne, Ravensbourne (the final part of which is called Deptford Creek), River Lea, Lea (the final part of which is called Bow Creek (London), Bow Creek), River Roding, Roding, River Darent, Darent and River Ingrebourne, Ingrebourne. At London, the water is slightly brackish water, brackish with sea salt, being a mix of sea and fresh water. This part of the river is managed by the
Port of London Authority The Port of London Authority (PLA) is a self-funding public trust established on 31 March 1909 in accordance with the Port of London Act 1908 to govern the Port of London. Its responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames and its c ...
. The flood threat here comes from high tides and strong winds from the North Sea, and the Thames Barrier was built in the 1980s to protect London from this risk. The Nore is the sandbank that marks the mouth of the
Thames Estuary The Thames Estuary is where the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the The Isis, River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At , it is the longest river entirely in Engl ...
, where the outflow from the Thames meets the
North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
. It is roughly halfway between River Roach#The tidal river, Havengore Creek in Essex and Warden Point on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. Until 1964 it marked the seaward limit of the Port of London Authority. As the sandbank was a major hazard for shipping coming in and out of London, in 1732 it received the world's first lightvessel, lightship. This became a major landmark, and was used as an assembly point for shipping. Today it is marked by Sea Reach № 1 Buoy.


Islands

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


Geological and topographic history

Researchers have identified the River Thames as a discrete drainage line flowing as early as 58 million years ago, in the Thanetian stage of the late Palaeocene epoch. Until around 500,000 years ago, the Thames flowed on its existing course through what is now
Oxfordshire Oxfordshire is a landlocked county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), ...

Oxfordshire
, before turning to the north-east through Hertfordshire and East Anglia and reaching the
North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
near present-day Ipswich. At this time the river-system headwaters lay in the English West Midlands (region), West Midlands and may, at times, have received drainage from the Berwyn Mountains in North Wales.


Ice age

About 450,000 years ago, in the most extreme Ice Age of the Pleistocene, the Anglian (stage), Anglian, the furthest southern extent of the ice sheet reached Hornchurch in east London, the Vale of St Albans, and the Finchley Gap. It dammed the river in Hertfordshire, resulting in the formation of large ice lakes, which eventually burst their banks and caused the river to divert onto its present course through the area of present-day London. The ice lobe which stopped at present-day Finchley deposited about 14 metres of boulder clay there. Its torrent of meltwater gushed through the Finchley Gap and south towards the new course of the Thames, and proceeded to carve out the River Brent, Brent Valley in the process. The Anglian ice advance resulted in a new course for the Thames through Berkshire and on into London, after which the river rejoined its original course in southern Essex, near the present River Blackwater (Essex), River Blackwater estuary. Here it entered a substantial freshwater lake in the southern North Sea basin, south of what is called Doggerland. The overspill of this lake caused the formation of the Channel River and later the Strait of Dover, Dover Strait gap between present-day Great Britain, Britain and France. Subsequent development led to the continuation of the course that the river follows at the present day. Most of the bedrock of the Aylesbury Vale, Vale of Aylesbury comprises clay and chalk that formed at the end of the ice age and at one time was under the Ancestral Thames, Proto-Thames. At this time the vast underground reserves of water formed that make the water table higher than average in the Vale of Aylesbury. 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 in the southern North Sea Basin. At this time, the Thames' course did not continue to Doggerland but flowed southwards from the eastern Essex coast where it met the waters of the proto-Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta flowing from what are now the 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. Upon the valley sides of the Thames and some of its tributaries 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 rivers proceeded to cut into. The steepness of some valley sides indicates 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 above the current sea-level. The surface had sandy deposits from an ancient sea, laid over sedimentary clay (this is the blue 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 Fluvial terrace, River Gravel Terraces. Since Roman times and perhaps earlier, the isostasy, 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

After the river took its present-day course, many of the banks of the
Thames Estuary The Thames Estuary is where the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the The Isis, River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At , it is the longest river entirely in Engl ...
and the
Thames Valley The Thames Valley is an informally-defined sub-region of South East England, centred on the River Thames west of London, with Oxford as a major centre. Its boundaries vary with context. The area is a major tourist destination and economic hub, i ...

Thames Valley
in 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 drained into the river, while some islands, e.g. Thorney Island (London), Thorney Island, formed over the ages. The northern tip of the ancient parish of Lambeth (parish), Lambeth, for example, was marshland known as ''Lambeth Marshe'', but it was drained in the 18th century; the street name Lower Marsh preserves a memory. The East End of London, also known simply as the East End, was the area of London east of the medieval walled City of London and north of the River Thames, although it is not defined by universally accepted formal boundaries; the River Lea can be considered another boundary. 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. Canvey Island in southern Essex (area ; population 40,000) was once marshy, but is now a fully reclaimed island in the Thames estuary, separated from the mainland of south 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

Various species of birds feed off the river or nest on it, some being found both at sea and inland. These include great cormorant, cormorant, black-headed gull and European herring gull, 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 goose, Canada geese, Egyptian goose, Egyptian geese and bar-headed goose, bar-headed geese, and ducks include the familiar native mallard, plus introduced Mandarin duck and wood duck. Other water birds to be found on the Thames include the great crested grebe, Eurasian coot, coot, moorhen, grey heron, heron and European kingfisher, 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. Atlantic Salmon, 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 in Maidenhead. The specimen weighed and measured in length. The European eel, 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, European chub, chub, common dace, dace, common roach, roach, barbel (fish species), barbel, European perch, perch, northern pike, pike, common bleak, bleak and flounder. Colonies of short-snouted seahorses have also recently been discovered in the river. 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 seal, grey and harbour seals numbers up to 700 in the Thames Estuary. These animals have been sighted as far upriver as Richmond. Common bottlenose dolphin, Bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises are also sighted in the Thames. On 20 January 2006, a 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 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 whale''.


Human history

The 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 John Elliot Burns (20 October 1858 – 24 January 1943) was an English trade unionist and politician, particularly associated with London politics and Battersea. He was a socialist and then a Liberal Party (UK), Liberal Member of Parliament and ...

John Burns
, one-time MP for Battersea, responded to an American's unfavourable comparison of the Thames with the Mississippi River, 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 times. The 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 Lake. A number of Bronze Age sites and artefacts have been discovered along the banks of the river including settlements at Lechlade, Cookham and Sunbury-on-Thames.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.
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.


Roman Britain

Some of the earliest written references to the Thames ( la, #Etymology, Tamesis) occur in Julius Caesar's account of his second expedition to Britain in 54 BC, when the Thames presented a major obstacle and he encountered the Iron Age Belgae, Belgic tribes the Catuvellauni and the Atrebates along the river. The confluence of the Thames and Cherwell was the site of early settlements and the River Cherwell marked the boundary between the 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 settlement was excavated on the edge of the village of Ashton Keynes in Wiltshire. Starting in AD 43, under the Claudius, Emperor Claudius, the Roman conquest of Britain, Romans occupied England and, recognising the river's strategic and economic importance, built fortifications along the Thames valley including Durnovaria, a major camp at Dorchester, Oxfordshire, Dorchester. Cornhill, London, Cornhill and 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, also known as Roman London, was the capital of Roman Britain during most of the period of Roman rule. It was originally a settlement established on the current site of the City of London around AD 47–50. It sat at a key cross ...
(London) grew up around the River Walbrook, Walbrook on the north bank around the year 47. Boudica's 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-upon-Thames, Staines on the Devil's Highway (Roman Britain), Devil's Highway between Londinium and Calleva Atrebatum, Calleva (Silchester). Boats could be swept up to it on the rising tide with no need for wind or muscle power.


Middle Ages

A 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 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 attracted unwelcome visitors and by around AD 870 the Vikings were sweeping up the Thames on the tide and creating havoc as in their destruction of Chertsey Abbey. Once William I of England, 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 Castle, Wallingford, Rochester, Kent, Rochester,
Windsor Windsor may refer to: Places Australia *Windsor, New South Wales ** Municipality of Windsor, a former local government area *Windsor, Queensland, a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland **Shire of Windsor, a former local government authority around Winds ...

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 John, King of England, King John was forced to sign the
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a Royal charter, royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor, on ...

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 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 period, Tudor and Stuart period, Stuart times, various kings and queens built magnificent riverside palaces at Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court, Kew, Richmond on Thames, 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 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."Peter Ackroyd, Thames: The Biography, New York: Doubleday, 2007. "Filthy River" The growth of the population of 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."


Early modern period

During a series of cold winters the Thames froze over above London Bridge: in the first Thames frost fairs, 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 to London carrying timber, wool, foodstuffs and livestock. The stone from the
Cotswolds The Cotswolds ( , ) is an area in south-central England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea ...
used to rebuild St Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire of London, Great Fire in 1666 was brought all the way down from Radcot. The Thames provided the major route between the City of London and 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 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". By the 18th century, the Thames was one of the world's busiest waterways, as London became the centre of the vast, mercantile British Empire, and progressively over the next century the docks expanded in the 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. The building of a new London Bridge in 1825, with fewer pier (architecture), piers (pillars) than the old, allowed the river to flow more freely and prevented it from freezing over in cold winters. Throughout early modern history the population of London and its industries discarded their rubbish in the river. 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. In the late 18th and 19th centuries people known as mudlarks scavenged in the river mud for a meagre living.


Victorian era

In the 19th century the quality of water in Thames deteriorated further. The discharge of raw sewage into the Thames was formerly only common in the City of London, making its tideway a harbour for many harmful bacteria. Gasworks 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. Four serious cholera outbreaks killed tens of thousands of people between 1832 and 1865. Historians have attributed Albert, Prince Consort, Prince Albert's death in 1861 to typhoid that had spread in the river's dirty waters beside Windsor Castle. 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.Peter Ackroyd, ''Thames: The Biography''. 272 & 274. In the 'Great Stink, Great Stink' of 1858, pollution in the river reached such an extreme that sittings of the British House of Commons, House of Commons at 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. A concerted effort to contain the city's sewage by constructing massive Combined sewer, 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 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 Royal Regatta, Henley and
the Boat Race The Boat Race is an annual set of rowing Rowing is the act of propelling a boat using the motion of oars in the water by displacing water to propel the boat forward. Rowing and paddling are similar. However, rowing requires oars to ha ...
. On 3 September 1878, one of the worst river disasters in England took place, when the crowded pleasure boat collided with the ''Bywell Castle'', killing over 640 people.


20th century

The growth of road transport, and the decline of the British Empire, 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 Luftwaffe, 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#The Port today, Port of 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. The decline of heavy industry and tanneries, reduced use of oil-pollutants and improved sewage treatment have led to much better water quality compared to 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 long Jubilee River was built as a wide "naturalistic" flood relief channel from Taplow to Eton, Berkshire, Eton to help reduce the flood risk in Maidenhead,
Windsor Windsor may refer to: Places Australia *Windsor, New South Wales ** Municipality of Windsor, a former local government area *Windsor, Queensland, a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland **Shire of Windsor, a former local government authority around Winds ...

Windsor
and Eton, although it appears to have increased flooding in the villages immediately downstream.


21st century

In 2010, the Thames won the largest environmental award in the world – the $350,000 International Riverprize.


The active river

One of the major resources provided by the Thames is the water distributed as drinking water by
Thames Water Thames Water Utilities Ltd, known as Thames Water, is a large private utility company responsible for the public water supply Water supply is the provision of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorle ...
, 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, London, Hampton, Walton-on-Thames, Walton, Ashford, Surrey, Ashford and Kempton Park, Surrey, Kempton Park Water Treatment Works with central London. In the past, commercial activities on the Thames included fishing (particularly eel trapping), coppicing willows and Willow, osiers which provided wood, and the operation of
watermill A watermill or water mill is a mill that uses hydropower Hydropower (from el, ὕδωρ, "water"), also known as water power, is the use of falling or fast-running water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, t ...

watermill
s for flour and paper production and metal beating. These activities have disappeared. A screw turbine hydro-electric plant at Romney Lock to power Windsor Castle using two Archimedes' screws was opened in 2013 by the Queen. This followed the first installation of such a screw at Mapledurham Watermill in 2011. The Thames is popular for a wide variety of riverside housing, including high-rise flats in central London and chalets on the banks and islands upstream. Some people live in houseboats, typically around Brentford and Tagg's Island.


Transport and tourism


The tidal river

In London there are many sightseeing tours in tourist boats, past the more famous riverside attractions such as the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London as well as regular riverboat services co-ordinated by London River Services. London city Airport is situated on the Thames, in East London. Previously it was a dock.


The upper river

In summer, passenger services operate along the entire non-tidal river from Oxford to Teddington. The two largest operators are Salters Steamers and French Brothers. Salters operate services between Folly Bridge, Oxford and Staines. The whole journey takes four days and requires several changes of boat. French Brothers operate passenger services between Maidenhead and Hampton Court. Along the course of the river a number of smaller private companies also offer river trips at Oxford, Wallingford, Reading and Hampton Court. 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.


Cable car

The Emirates Air Line (cable car), Air Line aerial lift, cable car over the Thames from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks has been in operation since the 2012 Summer Olympics.


Police and lifeboats

The river is policed by five police forces. The Marine Support Unit, Thames Division is the River Police arm of London's Metropolitan Police, while Surrey Police,
Thames Valley Police Thames Valley Police is the territorial police force A territorial police force is a police service that is responsible for an area defined by sub-national boundaries, distinguished from other police services which deal with the entire country ...
, Essex Police and Kent Police have responsibilities on their parts of the river outside the metropolitan area. There is also a London Fire Brigade fire boat on the river. The river claims a number of lives each year. As a result of the Marchioness disaster in 1989 when 51 people died, the UK government, Government asked the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the
Port of London Authority The Port of London Authority (PLA) is a self-funding public trust established on 31 March 1909 in accordance with the Port of London Act 1908 to govern the Port of London. Its responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames and its c ...
and the 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: at Teddington Lifeboat Station, Teddington, Chiswick Lifeboat Station, Chiswick, Tower Lifeboat Station, Tower (based at Victoria Embankment/Waterloo Bridge) and Gravesend Lifeboat Station, Gravesend.


Navigation

The Thames is maintained for navigation by powered craft from the estuary as far as Lechlade in Gloucestershire and for very small craft to
Cricklade Cricklade is a small town and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, ...
. The original towpath extends upstream from Putney Bridge as far as the connection with the now disused
Thames and Severn Canal The Thames and Severn Canal is a canal Canals are waterways Channel (geography), channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicles. They may also help with irrigation. It can be thought of as ...
at Inglesham, one and a half miles upstream of the St John's Lock, last boat lock near Lechlade. From Teddington Lock to the head of navigation, the navigation authority is the
Environment Agency The Environment Agency (EA) is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Teleg ...
. Between the sea and
Teddington Lock Teddington Lock is a complex of three locks and a weir on the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London London is the ca ...
, the river forms part of the
Port of London The Port of London is that part of the River Thames in England lying between Teddington Lock and the defined boundary (since 1968, a line drawn from Foulness Point in Essex via Gunfleet Old Lighthouse to Warden Point in Kent) with the North Sea ...
and navigation is administered by the
Port of London Authority The Port of London Authority (PLA) is a self-funding public trust established on 31 March 1909 in accordance with the Port of London Act 1908 to govern the Port of London. Its responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames and its c ...
. Both the tidal river through London and the non-tidal river upstream are intensively used for leisure navigation. The non-tidal River Thames is divided into reaches by the 45 lock (water transport), 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 Navigation, the River Kennet and the
Oxford Canal The Oxford Canal is a narrow canal in central England linking Oxford with Bedworth (between Coventry and Nuneaton on the Coventry Canal) via Banbury and Rugby, Warwickshire, Rugby. Completed in 1790, it connects to the River Thames at Oxford a ...
. All craft using it must be licensed. The
Environment Agency The Environment Agency (EA) is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Teleg ...
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 applies. There are pairs of Navigation transit markers, 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 and London Bridge. Although London's upstream enclosed docks have closed and central London sees only the occasional visiting cruise ship or naval ship, 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 Containerization, containers, vehicles, timber, grain, paper, Petroleum, crude oil, petroleum products, liquified petroleum gas etc. There is a regular traffic of Construction aggregate, aggregate or waste, refuse vessels, operating from wharf, wharves in the west of London. The tidal Thames links to the canal network at the River Lea Navigation, the Regent's Canal at Limehouse Basin and the
Grand Union Canal The Grand Union Canal in England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the eas ...

Grand Union Canal
at Brentford. Upstream of Wandsworth Bridge a speed limit of 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 downstream of Wandsworth Bridge, although boats are not allowed to create undue wash. Powered boats are limited to 12 knots between Lambeth Bridge and downstream of Tower Bridge, with some exceptions. Boats can be approved by the Harbourmaster, harbour master to travel at speeds of up to 30 knots from below Tower Bridge to past the Thames Barrier.


History of the management of the river

In the 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 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, Oxfordshire, Burcot. 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 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 The Thames Conservancy (formally the Conservators of the River Thames) was a body responsible for the management of the River Thames, that river in England. It was founded in 1857 to replace the jurisdiction of the City of London up to Staines-up ...
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 over the tidal river, below Teddington, were transferred to the
Port of London Authority The Port of London Authority (PLA) is a self-funding public trust established on 31 March 1909 in accordance with the Port of London Act 1908 to govern the Port of London. Its responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames and its c ...
. In 1974 the Thames Conservancy became part of the new Thames Water Authority. When Thames Water was privatised in 1990, its river management functions were transferred to the National Rivers Authority, in 1996 subsumed into the
Environment Agency The Environment Agency (EA) is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Teleg ...
. 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

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 Gloucestershire ( abbreviated Glos) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chamber ...

Gloucestershire
, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex and Essex. On the southern bank were the counties of Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey and Kent. Counting bridges to the far bank or to an island connected to such, the Thames has 223. From source to mouth a channel can be found with 138 bridges, plus the temporary footbridge often added during Reading Festival. The river is heavily splayed in Ashton Keynes and
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

Oxford
. Where the river is wide 17 tunnels that have been built, many of which for rail or notable electricity cables. The crossings have changed the dynamics and made cross-river development and shared responsibilities more practicable. In 1965, upon the creation of
Greater London Greater London is an Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England, administrative area governed by the Greater London Authority, and a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of England that covers the bulk of the same area ...

Greater London
, the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames incorporated the former 'Middlesex and Surrey' banks, Borough of Spelthorne, Spelthorne moved from 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 to Oxfordshire, and from Buckinghamshire to Berkshire. In many river sports and traditions – for example in rowing – the banks are referred to by their traditional county names.


Crossings

Many of the present-day road bridges are on the site of earlier fords, ferries and wooden bridges. Swinford Bridge, known as the five pence toll bridge, replaced a ferry that in turn replaced a ford. The earliest known major crossings of the Thames by the Romans were at London Bridge and Staines Bridge. At Folly Bridge in Oxford the remains of an original Saxon structure can be seen, and medieval stone bridges such as Newbridge, Oxfordshire, Newbridge, Wallingford Bridge and Abingdon Bridge are still in use. Kingston's growth is believed to stem from its having the only crossing between 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 and along the length of the river. These included Putney Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Datchet Bridge, Windsor Bridge and Sonning Bridge. Several central London road bridges were built in the 19th century, most conspicuously Tower Bridge, the only 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 and Marlow By-pass Bridge and the motorway bridges, most notably the two on the M25 motorway, M25 route: Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and M25 Runnymede Bridge. Railway development in the 19th century resulted in a spate of bridge building including Blackfriars Railway Bridge and Hungerford Bridge, Charing Cross (Hungerford) Railway Bridge in central London, and the railway bridges by Isambard Kingdom Brunel at Maidenhead Railway Bridge, Gatehampton Railway Bridge and 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 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 and the Rotherhithe Tunnel. The latest tunnels are the 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 Footbridge. Around 2000, several footbridges were added along the Thames, either as part of the Thames Path or in commemoration of the millennium. These include Temple Footbridge, Bloomers Hole Footbridge, the Hungerford Footbridges and the London Millennium Bridge, 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 carries cars and passengers across the river in the Thames Gateway and links the North Circular and South Circular Road, London, South Circular roads. Upstream are smaller pedestrian ferries, for example Hampton Ferry (River Thames), Hampton Ferry and Shepperton to Weybridge Ferry, the last being the only non-permanent crossing that remains on the Thames Path.


Pollution


Treated sewage

Treated sewage, waste water from all the towns and villages in the Thames catchment flow into the Thames via sewage treatment plants. This includes all that from Swindon, Oxford, Berkshire and almost all of Surrey. However, untreated sewage still often enters the Thames during wet weather. When London sewerage system, 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. In 2013, over 55 tonnes of dilute raw sewage overflowed into the tidal Thames. These discharge events kill fish, leave raw sewage on the riverbanks, and decrease the water quality of the river. To reduce the release of this into the river, the Thames Tideway Scheme is currently under construction at a cost of £4.2 billion. This project will collect sewage from the Greater London area before it Combined sewage overflow, overflows, before channelling it down a 25 km (15 mi) tunnel underneath the tidal Thames, so that it can be treated at Beckton Sewage Treatment Works. The project is planned to reduce sewage discharges into the Thames in the Greater London area by 90%, dramatically increasing water quality.


Mercury levels

Mercury (element), Mercury (Hg) is an environmentally persistent heavy metal which can be toxic to marine life and humans. Sixty sediment cores of 1 m in depth, spanning the entire tidal River Thames between Brentford and the Isle of Grain, have been analysed for total Hg. The sediment records show a clear rise and fall of Hg pollution through history. Mercury concentrations in the River Thames decrease downstream from London to the outer 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. The most sedimentary-hosted Hg pollution in the Thames estuary occurs in the central London area between Vauxhall Bridge and Woolwich. 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).


Sport

There are several watersports prevalent on the Thames, with many clubs encouraging participation and organising racing and inter-club competitions.


Rowing

The Thames is the historic heartland of sport rowing, rowing in the United Kingdom. There are over 200 clubs on the river, and over 8,000 members of British Rowing (over 40% of its membership). Most towns and districts of any size on the river have at least one club. Internationally attended centres are
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

Oxford
,
Henley-on-Thames Henley-on-Thames ( ) is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares ...
and events and clubs on the stretch of river from Chiswick to Putney. Two rowing events on the River Thames are traditionally part of the wider English sporting calendar: The The Boat Race, University Boat Race (between Oxford University Boat Club, Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Club, Cambridge) takes place in late March or early April, on the The Championship Course, Championship Course from Putney to Mortlake in the west of London.
Henley Royal Regatta Henley Royal Regatta (or Henley Regatta, its original name pre-dating Royal patronage) is a Rowing (sport), rowing event held annually on the River Thames by the town of Henley-on-Thames, England. It was established on 26 March 1839. It differ ...
takes place over five days at the start of July in the upstream town of
Henley-on-Thames Henley-on-Thames ( ) is a town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares ...
. Besides its sporting significance the regatta is an important date on the English Season (society), social calendar alongside events like Ascot Racecourse, Royal Ascot and Wimbledon Championships, Wimbledon. Other significant or historic rowing events on the Thames include: * The Head of the River Race and Women's Eights Head of the River Race (8+) (i.e. coxed eights), Schools' Head of the River Race, Schools' Head, Veterans Head, Scullers Head of the River Race, Scullers Head, Head of the River Fours, Fours Head (HOR4s), and Pairs Head (shorter) on the The Championship Course, Championship Course * The Wingfield Sculls on the same course: (1x) (single sculling) championship * 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 currently for the Lightweight (men's and women's) crews of Oxford and Cambridge universities * The Oxford University bumps race, 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

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 laser (dinghy), lasers, GP14 (dinghy), GP14s and Wayfarer (dinghy), Wayfarers. One sailing boat unique to the Thames is the Thames A Class Rater (scow), Thames Rater, which is sailed around Raven's Ait.


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

Unlike the "pleasure punt (boat), punting" common on the River Cherwell, Cherwell in
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

Oxford
and the River Cam, 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 and canoeing

Kayaking Kayaking is the use of a kayak A kayak is a small, narrow watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with o ...

Kayaking
and
canoeing Canoeing is an activity which involves paddling Paddling with regard to watercraft is the act of manually propelling a boat using a paddle. The paddle, which consists of one or two blades joined to a shaft, is also used to steer the vessel. The ...
are common, with sea kayakers using the tidal reach, tidal stretch for touring. Kayakers and canoeists use the tidal and non-tidal sections for training, racing and trips. Whitewater playboating, playboaters and slalom canoeing, slalom paddlers are catered for at weirs like those at Hurley Lock, Sunbury Lock and Boulter's Lock. At 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 International Canoe Race, which follows the course of the
Kennet and Avon Canal The Kennet and Avon Canal is a waterway A waterway is any navigable A body of water ( Lysefjord) in Norway Norway ( nb, ; nn, ; se, Norga; smj, Vuodna; sma, Nöörje), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic countr ...
, joins the River Thames at Reading and runs right up to a grand finish at Westminster Bridge.


Swimming

In 2006 British swimmer and environmental campaigner Lewis Pugh became the first person to swim the full length of the Thames from outside Kemble to Southend-on-Sea to draw attention to the severe drought in England which saw record temperatures indicative of a degree of global warming. The 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 . Since June 2012 the
Port of London Authority The Port of London Authority (PLA) is a self-funding public trust established on 31 March 1909 in accordance with the Port of London Act 1908 to govern the Port of London. Its responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames and its c ...
has made and enforces a by-law that bans swimming between Putney Bridge and Crossness, 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. Organised swimming events take place at various points generally upstream of Hampton Court, including Windsor, Marlow and Henley. In 2011 comedian David Walliams swam the from Lechlade to Westminster Bridge and raised over £1 million for charity. In non-tidal stretches swimming was, and still is, a leisure and fitness activity among experienced swimmers where safe, deeper outer channels are used in times of low stream.


Meanders

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

File:Brooklyn Museum - Houses of Parliament Sunlight Effect (Le Parlement effet de soleil) - Claude Monet.jpg, Houses of Parliament Sunlight Effect (Le Parlement effet de soleil) – Claude Monet File:Canaletto - Westminster Bridge, with the Lord Mayor's Procession on the Thames - Google Art Project.jpg, The first Westminster Bridge as painted by Canaletto in 1746. Image:Canaletto london.jpg, ''The River Thames from Richmond House'' by Canaletto, 1747 Rain Steam and Speed the Great Western Railway.jpg, Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway, Maidenhead Railway Bridge as J. M. W. Turner, Turner saw it in 1844 London, the Houses of Parliament, Sunlight Opening in Fog, by Claude Monet.jpg, Claude Monet, Monet's ''Trouée de soleil dans le brouillard'', Houses of Parliament series (Monet), Houses of Parliament, London, Sun Breaking Through the Fog, 1904 File:James Abbot McNeill Whistler 006.jpg, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Whistler's ''Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Old Battersea Bridge'' (c. 1872–1875) File:Brooklyn Museum - Foggy Morning on the Thames - James Hamilton - overall.jpg, ''Foggy Morning on the Thames'' – James Hamilton (between 1872 and 1878) File:Boating on the Thames by John Lavery.jpeg, ''Boating on the Thames'' - John Lavery, circa 1890


Visual arts

The 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 and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. The 20th-century British artist Stanley Spencer produced many works at Cookham. John Kaufman's sculpture ''The Diver, The Diver: Regeneration'' is sited in the Thames near Rainham, London, Rainham. The river and bridges are portrayed as being destroyed – together with much of London – in the film ''Independence Day 2''.


Literature

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'' by Jerome K. Jerome, first published in 1889, is a humorous account of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston upon Thames, Kingston and
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

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' ''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 Bridge, to salvage what the body might have in its pockets, and leads to its conclusion with the deaths of the villains drowned in Shepperton Lock, 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 Bridge which is of iron, and 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 era, Edwardian society. It is generally considered one of the most beloved works of children's literature 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 rookery (slum), rookeries along its south bank. The Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle often visit riverside parts as in ''The Sign of the Four, The Sign of Four''. In ''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 from the
Thames Estuary The Thames Estuary is where the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the The Isis, River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At , it is the longest river entirely in Engl ...
in his essays ''q:Joseph Conrad#On the River Thames, The Mirror of the Sea'' (1906). Upriver, Henry James' ''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 on the Thames. In poetry, William Wordsworth's sonnet Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802, On 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 makes several references to the Thames in ''The Fire Sermon, Section III'' of ''The 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 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 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'' by William Morris is mainly the account of a journey through the 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 and the Fens, and as a prominent setting for his novel La Belle Sauvage. In ''The 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 Smarties Book Prize, 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 (writer), Mark Wallington describes a journey up the Thames in a camping skiff, in his 1989 book ''Boogie up the River'' ().


Music

The Water Music (Handel), Water Music composed by George Frideric Handel premiered on 17 July 1717, when George I of Great Britain, 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 (bass-baritone), Peter Dawson at Abbey Road Studios in 1933 and by Gracie Fields five years later. 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 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 (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 and starts: "Dirty old river, must you keep rolling, flowing into the night?" and continues "Terry meets Julie, London Waterloo station, 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 as a solo artist refers to the river Thames in his "London Song". 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 Spenser's love poem's refrain above) English musician Imogen Heap wrote a song from the point of view of the 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 (Imogen Heap album), Sparks.


Major flood events


London flood of 1928

The 1928 Thames flood was a disastrous flood of the River Thames that affected much of riverside London on 7 January 1928, as well as places further downriver. Fourteen people were drowned in London and thousands were made homeless when flood waters poured over the top of the Thames Embankment and part of the Chelsea Embankment collapsed. It was the last major flood to affect
central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the ...
, and, particularly following the disastrous North Sea flood of 1953, helped lead to the implementation of new flood-control measures that culminated in the construction of the Thames Barrier in the 1970s.


Thames Valley flood of 1947

The 1947 Thames flood was overall the worst 20th-century flood of the River Thames, affecting much of the
Thames Valley The Thames Valley is an informally-defined sub-region of South East England, centred on the River Thames west of London, with Oxford as a major centre. Its boundaries vary with context. The area is a major tourist destination and economic hub, i ...

Thames Valley
as well as elsewhere in England during the middle of March 1947 after a very Winter of 1946–1947, severe winter. The floods were caused by of rainfall (including snow); the peak flow was of water per day and the damage cost a total of £12 million to repair. World War II, War damage to some of the Lock (water transport), locks made matters worse. Other significant Thames floods since 1947 have occurred in 1968, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2014.


Canvey Island flood of 1953

On the night of 31 January, the 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.Canvey Island's 13,000 refugees
. (2 February 1953). ''The Guardian'' (London), p. 1. Retrieved 29 July 2008.
Canvey is consequently protected by modern sea defences comprising of concrete seawall."Canvey Island Drainage scheme 2006". Environment agency. (May Avenue Pumping Station information board). 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 above sea level and consequently escaped the effects of the flood.


See also

* Dartford Cable Tunnel * Foreshore of the River Thames * List of locations in the Port of London * List of rivers of the United Kingdom * Nore *
River and Rowing Museum The River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames Henley-on-Thames ( ) is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them ...
* Steamboat – reference Thames Steamboats * Subterranean rivers of London * Thames Discovery Programme * Thames sailing barge * Thames steamers * Tyburn (stream)


References


Further reading

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External links


Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide – Pictures and history and tides and poetry and conditions

The River Thames Society

Thames Path National Trail

River Thames London Hired Boats and News Blog

BBC 4 documentary ''In search of Arcadia'' features the river
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