Tideway

Last updated

Teddington Weir marks the start of the Tideway Teddington Lock 2.jpg
Teddington Weir marks the start of the Tideway

The Tideway is the part of the River Thames in England that is subject to tides. This stretch of water is downstream from Teddington Lock and in its widest definition is just under 26 kilometres (16 mi) long. [1] The Tideway includes the Thames Estuary, the Thames Gateway and the Pool of London.

Contents

Tidal activity

Depending on the time of year, the river tide rises and falls twice a day by up to 7 m (24 ft) and, due to the need to overcome the outflow of fresh water from the Thames Basin, it takes longer to subside (6–9 hours) than it does to flow in (4–5 hours).

London Bridge is used as the basis for published tide tables giving the times of high tide. High tide reaches Putney about 30 minutes later.

Low-lying banks of London have been defended against natural vulnerability to flooding by storm surges. The threat has increased due to a slow but continuous rise in high water level, caused by the extremely slow 'tilting' of Britain (up in the north and down in the south) due to post-glacial rebound and the gradual rise in sea levels due to climate change. [2] The Thames Barrier was constructed across the Thames at Woolwich to deal with this threat.

Responsibilities

A Fast Response Targa 31 boat of the Marine Support Unit of the Metropolitan Police Police.boat.london.arp.jpg
A Fast Response Targa 31 boat of the Marine Support Unit of the Metropolitan Police

The Tideway is managed by the Port of London Authority (PLA) and is often referred to as the Port of London. The upstream limit of its authority is marked by an obelisk just short of Teddington Lock. The PLA is responsible for one lock on the Thames: Richmond Lock.

In London, the Thames is policed by the Thames Division, the river police arm of London’s Metropolitan Police. Essex Police and Kent Police have responsibilities for the rest of the Tideway. 21st century criminal investigations have included the Roberto Calvi and Torso in the Thames cases. The London Fire Brigade has a fire boat on the river.

RNLI E class lifeboat based at Chiswick Pier performing a rescue RNLI Chelsea Pensioner.jpg
RNLI E class lifeboat based at Chiswick Pier performing a rescue

As a result of the Marchioness disaster in 1989 when 51 people died, the Government asked the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Port of London Authority 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 Thames, at: Teddington, Chiswick Pier, Tower Pier and Gravesend. [3]

River traffic around Waterloo Pier in 2008 Waterloo Pier 1.jpg
River traffic around Waterloo Pier in 2008
The Thames Lock on the Grand Union Canal at Brentford in 2005 Thames Lock, Brentford, Spring Tide, Twilight, 20050113.jpg
The Thames Lock on the Grand Union Canal at Brentford in 2005

The river is navigable to large ocean-going ships as far as the Pool of London at London Bridge and is the United Kingdom's second largest port by tonnage. [4] Today, little commercial traffic passes above the Thames Barrier, and central London sees only the occasional visiting cruise ship or warship moored alongside HMS Belfast, and a few smaller aggregate or refuse vessels, operating from wharves in the west of London. Most trade is handled by the Port of Tilbury, ro-ro ferry terminals at Dagenham and Dartford, and petroleum products handling facilities at Purfleet, Coryton and Canvey Island.

There is a speed limit of 8 knots (15 km/h) west of Wandsworth Bridge and in tributary creeks, and except for authorised vehicles, 12 knots (22 km/h) between Wandsworth Bridge and Margaretness. [5]

The tidal river is used for leisure navigation. In London sections there are many sightseeing tours in tourist boats past riverside attractions such as the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London, as well as regular riverboat services provided by London River Services. This section is not suitable for sporting activity because of the strong stream through the bridges.

Rowing has a significant presence upstream of Putney Bridge, while sailing takes place in the same area and also along the coasts of the Estuary. The annual Great River Race for traditional rowed craft takes place over the stretch from Greenwich to Ham. Thames meander challenges along the length of the Thames from Lechlade often pass through the London sections and finish well downstream, for example at Gravesend Pier.

The Grand Union Canal joins the river at Brentford, with a branch – the Regent's Canal – joining at Limehouse Basin. The other part of the canal network still connecting on the Tideway is the River Lea Navigation.

Thames Reaches east of Westminster
Reach 1 Upper Pool, Lower Pool and Limehouse Reach
Reach 2 Limehouse, Greenwich and Blackwall Reach
Reach 3 Bugsby’s and Woolwich Reach
Reach 4 Gallions and Barking Reach
Reach 5 Halfway and Erith Reach
Reach 6 Erith Reach, Erith Rands and Long Reach
Reach 7 Long Reach and Fiddler’s Reach
Reach 8 Northfleet Hope
Reach 9 Gravesend Reach
Reach 10 The Lower Hope
Reach 11 Sea Reach

Environment

The River Thames flooding at Chiswick Lane South in 2006 Thames flooding at Chiswick Lane South, London W4 (2).jpg
The River Thames flooding at Chiswick Lane South in 2006

Narrow low-lying belts beside the tidal section of the Thames regularly flood at spring tides, supporting brackish plants. One such example is at Chiswick Lane South, where the river, as pictured, overflows this road a few times per year. (Picture taken in 2006).

Although water quality has improved over the last 40 years and efforts to clean up the Tideway have led to the reintroduction of marine life and birds, the environment of the Tideway is still poor. Heavier rainfall in London causes overflows from pipes on the river banks from the standard type of sewer in the capital, the combined sewer. Around 39,000,000 m3 (3.9×1010 l) or 39 million tonnes of untreated sewage mixed with rainwater are released into the Tideway each year from sewage treatment works and combined sewer overflows (CSOs), averaging 106,849 m3 (106,849,000 l) per day or 106,849 tonnes per day. [6] [7] These CSOs can cause the deaths of marine life and health hazards for river users.

The Thames Tideway Scheme, under construction, aims to divert most of the overflow from sewers into a tunnel under the river.

Thames Estuary

The Thames Estuary is bordered by the coast and the low-lying lands upstream between the mouth of the River Stour on the Essex/Suffolk border and The Swale in north Kent. It is now usually designated the Greater Thames Estuary and is one of the largest inlets on the coast of Great Britain. The water can rise by 4 metres moving at a speed of 8 miles per hour.

The estuary extends into London near Tower Bridge, and can be divided into the Outer Estuary up to the Swale at the west end of the Isle of Sheppey, and the Inner Estuary, designated the Thames Gateway above this point. The shore of the Outer Estuary consists of saltmarshes and mudflats, but there are man-made embankments along much of the route. Behind these, the land is cultivated or used for grazing. Parts of the Outer Estuary are on a major shipping route.

Thames Gateway

The Grain Tower, Isle of Grain 1855, and causeway seen at low tide, 2008 Grain4973.JPG
The Grain Tower, Isle of Grain 1855, and causeway seen at low tide, 2008
The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge; opened in October, 1991 Queen Elizabeth II bridge Penny Mayes.jpg
The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge; opened in October, 1991

The Gateway is some 70 kilometres (43 mi) long, [1] stretching from the Isle of Sheppey to Westferry in Tower Hamlets. Its boundary was drawn to capture the riverside strip that formerly hosted many land extensive industries, serving London and the South East. The decline of these industries has left a legacy of large scale dereliction and contaminated land, but an opportunity for major redevelopment. The area includes the London Docklands, Millennium Dome, London Riverside and Thames Barrier.

Major crossings

Tributaries

Islands and peninsulas

Pool of London

Tower Bridge open to admit HMS Northumberland in April, 2007 TowerBridgeopen.jpg
Tower Bridge open to admit HMS Northumberland in April, 2007

The Pool of London is divided into two parts, the Lower Pool and Upper Pool. The Lower Pool traditionally runs from the Cherry Garden Pier in Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge. The Upper Pool consists of the section between Tower Bridge and London Bridge. In the 18th and 19th centuries the river was lined with nearly continuous walls of wharves running for miles along both banks, and hundreds of ships moored in the river or alongside the quays. The lack of capacity in the Pool of London prompted landowners to build London's Docklands with enclosed docks with better security and facilities. The abrupt collapse of commercial traffic in the Thames due to the introduction of shipping containers and coastal deep-water ports in the 1960s emptied the Pool and led to all of the wharves being closed down. The Lower Pool area was extensively redeveloped in the 1980s and 1990s to create new residential and commercial neighbourhoods, often using converted warehouses. In the Upper Pool this provided scope for office development in the City of London and Southwark.

Major crossings

Inner London

London Bridge with the Gherkin in the background London Bridge, November 2005.jpg
London Bridge with the Gherkin in the background
Blackfriars Bridge with St Paul's Cathedral behind Blackfriars Bridge, River Thames, London, with St Pauls Cathedral.jpg
Blackfriars Bridge with St Paul's Cathedral behind
Lambeth Palace, photographed looking east across the River Thames. Lambeth Palace London 240404.jpg
Lambeth Palace, photographed looking east across the River Thames.
Battersea Power Station viewed from the north bank of the River Thames at Pimlico. Battersea Powerstation - Across Thames - London - 020504.jpg
Battersea Power Station viewed from the north bank of the River Thames at Pimlico.

Between London Bridge and Putney Bridge, the river passes through Central London and some of the most famous landmarks.

North BankSouth Bank
Monument
St Paul's Cathedral
Inner Temple
Somerset House
Victoria Embankment
HMS President
HMS Wellington
Cleopatra's Needle
Charing Cross railway station
Norman Shaw Buildings
Houses of Parliament
Tate Britain
Thames Embankment
Southwark Cathedral
St Saviour's Dock
Globe Theatre
Tate Modern
Royal National Theatre
Royal Festival Hall
London Eye
Albert Embankment
County Hall, London
St Thomas' Hospital
Lambeth Palace
SIS Building
Battersea Power Station

River boats carry tourists up down and across the river, and also provide a regular commuter service.

Major crossings

Tributaries

(culverted tributaries largely converted to sewers are marked ‡)

Outer London

Putney Bridge Putney Bridge.jpg
Putney Bridge
Historic riverside pub, Strand-on-the-Green, Chiswick Strand-on-the-green-pub.jpg
Historic riverside pub, Strand-on-the-Green, Chiswick
View from Richmond Hill, Richmond. GloversIsle01.JPG
View from Richmond Hill, Richmond.

From Putney Bridge to Teddington Lock, the river passes through inner and outer suburbs such as Hammersmith, Chiswick, Barnes, Richmond on Thames and Ham. This part of the Tideway is home to most of London's rowing clubs, and is the venue for training and racing throughout the year. The Championship Course over which The Boat Race and many other events are run, stretches from Putney to Mortlake.

Major crossings

Tributaries

Islands

See also

Related Research Articles

River Thames River in southern England

The River Thames, known alternatively in parts as the Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At 215 miles (346 km), it is the longest river entirely in England and the second-longest in the United Kingdom, after the River Severn.

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 continuation. It maintains and supervises navigation, and protects the river's environment.

Joseph Bazalgette 19th-century English civil engineer

Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, CB was a 19th-century English civil engineer. As chief engineer of London's Metropolitan Board of Works his major achievement was the creation of a sewer network for central London which was instrumental in relieving the city from cholera epidemics, while beginning to clean the River Thames.

Locks and weirs on the River Thames Wikimedia list article

The English River Thames is navigable from Cricklade or Lechlade to the sea, and this part of the river falls 71 meters (234 feet). There are 45 locks on the river, each with one or more adjacent weirs. These lock and weir combinations are used for controlling the flow of water down the river, most notably when there is a risk of flooding, and provide for navigation above the tideway.

Richmond Lock and Footbridge lock and pedestrian bridge, situated on the River Thames in south west London

Richmond Lock and Footbridge is a lock, rising and falling low-tide barrage integrating controlled sluices and pair of pedestrian bridges on the River Thames in south west London, England and is a Grade II* listed structure. It is the furthest downstream of the forty-five Thames locks and the only one owned and operated by the Port of London Authority. It was opened in 1894 and is north-west of the centre of Richmond in a semi-urban part of south-west London. Downstream are Syon Park and Kew Gardens on opposite banks. It connects the promenade at Richmond with the neighbouring district of St. Margarets on the west bank during the day and is closed at night to pedestrians – after 19:30 GMT or after 21:30 when BST is in use. At high tide the sluice gates are raised and partly hidden behind metal arches forming twin footbridges.

Teddington Lock

Teddington Lock is a complex of three locks and a weir on the River Thames between Ham and Teddington in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, England. It was first built in 1810.

Thames Estuary estuary in which the River Thames meets the waters of the North Sea

The Thames Estuary is where the River Thames meets the waters of the North Sea, in the south-east of Great Britain.

The Championship Course stretch of the River Thames between Mortlake and Putney in London, England

The stretch of the River Thames between Mortlake and Putney in London, England is a well-established course for rowing races, most famously the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. It is often referred to as The Championship Course. The course is on the tidal reaches of the river often referred to as the Tideway. Due to the iconic shape of the Championship Course, in orthopaedic surgery, an "S" shaped incision along the crease of the elbow is commonly referred to as "a boat-race incision resembling the River Thames from Putney to Mortlake."

Stamford Brook

Stamford Brook was a tributary of the Tideway stretch of the River Thames in west London supplied by three headwaters. Historically used as an irrigation ditch or dyke the network of small watercourses had four lower courses and mouths.

Barnes railway station railway station in London

Barnes railway station is a Grade II listed station in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, in southwest London, and is in Travelcard Zone 3. It is 7 miles 7 chains (11.4 km) down the line from London Waterloo. The station and all trains serving it are operated by South Western Railway.

Thames Path long-distance trail following the River Thames in England

The Thames Path is a National Trail following the River Thames from its source near Kemble in Gloucestershire to the Thames Barrier at Charlton, south east London. It is about 184 miles (296 km) long. A path was first proposed in 1948 but it only opened in 1996.

Thames Conservancy body responsible for the management of the River Thames in England from 1857 to 1974

The Thames Conservancy was a historical body responsible for the management of the River Thames in England. It was founded in 1857, initially replacing the jurisdiction of the City of London up to Staines and later taking responsibility for the whole river from Cricklade in Wiltshire to the sea at Yantlet Creek on the Isle of Grain. Responsibilities were reduced when the Tideway was transferred to the Port of London Authority in 1909 and in 1974 the Conservancy was taken into the Thames Water Authority.

Chiswick Eyot Tidal island in the River Thames

Chiswick Eyot is a 3.266-acre (1.3 ha) narrow, uninhabited ait in the River Thames. It is a tree- and reed-covered rise on the Tideway by Chiswick, in the Borough of Hounslow, London, England and is overlooked by St Nicholas Church, Chiswick, the Mall of Hammersmith and by some of the Barnes riverside on the far bank. Excluding tidal mudflats and sandbanks, it is the most downstream island purely on the Thames itself.

Molesey Lock

Molesey Lock is a lock on the River Thames in England at East Molesey, Surrey on the right bank.

Rowing on the River Thames

The River Thames is one of the main rowing areas in England, with activity taking place on the Tideway and on the 45 separate lock reaches on the non-tidal section. The river hosts two major rowing events, The Boat Race and Henley Royal Regatta, and many other regattas and long distance events take place on the river. Dorney Lake in Buckinghamshire was opened specifically as a rowing lake besides the Thames, and has become the venue for a few events that formerly took place on the river. Other lakes adjacent to the Thames are the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake and Royal Albert Dock. Rowing, or sculling, includes skiffing, dinghy racing and cutter racing in which the boats are also propelled by blades.

Sailing on the River Thames

Sailing on the River Thames is practised on both the tidal and non-tidal reaches of the river. The highest club upstream is at Oxford. The most popular sailing craft used on the Thames are lasers, GP14s, Wayfarers and Enterprises. One sailing boat unique to the Thames is the Thames Rater, which is sailed around Raven's Ait.

Swan Island, London island in River Thames

Swan Island is a small, privately owned island in the River Thames at Twickenham, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, London, England. It is situated on the Tideway about 34 mile (1.2 km) downstream of Teddington Lock.

Brentford Ait island in the River Thames

Brentford Ait is a long 4.572-acre (1.9 ha) uninhabited ait in the River Thames, with no buildings, on the Tideway near Brentford in London, England.

References

  1. 1 2 http://www.thames-path.com/2008/?page_id=16898
  2. "GOV.UK". Environment Agency. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  3. "ENGLAND | Thames lifeboat service launched". BBC News. 2 January 2002. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  4. (DFT) Provisional Port Statistics and Sea Passenger Statistics 2007 – Amended version Archived 24 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. The Port of London Authority Tidal Thames Recreational Users Guide
  6. "Thames Tunnel Consultation". Thames Tunnel partnership. Archived from the original on 30 July 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  7. Environment Agency, February 2009 ‘’London State of the Environment Report: Water Quality’’ Archived 31 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine

Coordinates: 51°25′47″N0°19′12″W / 51.4298°N 0.3200°W / 51.4298; -0.3200