diamond geezer

 Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Travelling across London, what's the maximum number of times a straight line can cross the Thames?

I make it twelve.

Travelling west to east along a line of latitude I can only get to eight.
But tilt the line a bit, to make the most of all the meanders, and a dozen is just about possible.

Crossing 1: Thistleworth Marine, IsleworthOld Deer Park, Richmond

My line starts where Twickenham bleeds into Isleworth, near the mouth of the River Crane, specifically within the boatyard of Thistleworth Marine. If you've walked the Capital Ring you'll have passed by on your way from Richmond Lock to Syon Park. The marina's a useful place to overwinter barges and pleasureboats, a cluster of three pontoons midriver where a little light maintenance might take place. Access is via Railshead Road, which for centuries led to a ferry crossing but now peters out beyond some cottages. The Thames is only 100m wide at this point. It's a pleasant place to begin. [map showing my line]

Crossing 2: Stag Brewery, MortlakeDuke's Meadows, Chiswick
Crossing 3: Duke's Meadows, ChiswickBarnes Bridge station

We've leapt across Kew to the Thames's next big meander, the one below Chiswick. My line only just scrapes the bend, which means a long diagonal crossing, a brief flirtation with the northern bank and another diagonal crossing back. The launch point is close to the marker which shows where the Boat Race finishes, just behind the Stag Brewery in Mortlake. They brewed proper beer here until 1995, then Budweiser until 2015, and the complex remains an empty shell awaiting transformation into flats. Most of the rest of the southern shore is already built up, and highly desirable, especially around Barnes Bridge. Duke's Meadows, by contrast, is an undeveloped expanse of recreational space divided up into pitches, fairways, courts, boathouses, stadia and other sports grounds, because flood risk makes it so.

Crossing 4: Barn Elms Sports CentreCraven Cottage, Fulham

This crossing, close to the London Wetland Centre, comes a couple of miles earlier in the Boat Race. The western side is again all sports grounds, of the kind which prep schools drive their pupils to in minibuses for an afternoon of jolly scrummage. If acreage is any judge, they play a heck of a lot more sport in west London than east. A stripe of riverside has been commandeered by Thames Water's Tideway tunnel crew to intercept the West Putney sewer overflow. Across the water is Craven Cottage, Fulham's football ground, currently dominated by a screen of cranes helping to build the club's new Riverside Stand. The width of the Thames now exceeds 200m.

Crossing 5: World's End, ChelseaChelsea Bridge, Battersea
Crossing 6: Chelsea Bridge, BatterseaGrosvenor Road, Pimlico
Crossing 7: Grosvenor Road, PimlicoSt George's Wharf, Vauxhall

If you're wondering how I managed to find a line crossing the Thames so many times, it's because I aligned it with this stretch of the river. The Thames from Chelsea to Vauxhall is almost straight, but these two miles include a slight bend which I've exploited to cross the river three times. Crossing 5 is a very long glide past Chelsea Embankment, then the whole of Battersea Park, eventually glancing the southern bank at Chelsea Bridge. Crossing 6 continues straight beneath Grosvenor Bridge to shave the northern bank in Pimlico where some pricey waterfront real estate juts out into the river. Finally Crossing 7 bears off through the Westminster Boating Base on a beeline for Vauxhall Cross, specifically St George's Wharf. Had my line been a few metres further north I'd have missed Battersea, and a few metres further south I'd have missed Pimlico.

Crossing 8: Greenland Dock, RotherhitheSir John McDougall Gardens, Isle of Dogs

My line skips central London, and the useful-looking bend between Wapping and Rotherhithe, because if I'd hit those I'd have missed the proper meanders that follow. Instead here we are at the mouth of Greenland Dock, about to launch off across the water towards a grassy bit of Millwall on the Isle of Dogs. The Thames is now almost 350m wide and capable of supporting shipping.

Crossing 9: Folly Wall, Cubitt TownGreenwich Peninsula Golf Range

Traversing the Isle of Dogs, just south of the main skyscraper cluster, delivers us to the far side amid a much less affluent quarter. If you know where the exuberant postmodern pumping station is, we're very close to there. Across the water is the North Greenwich peninsula, this being the side still awaiting its turn for development, hence the land being used for a 'temporary' driving range for cityboy golfers. Alongside is an even more temporary black shell called Magazine which hosts one-off events, especially noisy ones where it's helpful not to have any neighbours. Bleak, but evocative.

Crossing 10: Dangleway SouthPeruvian Wharf, West Silvertown

This isn't deliberate, but my line scores a direct hit on the North Greenwich end of London's most pointless cablecar. As the empty pods hoick up into the sky, so the route I'm tracing heads across Bugsby's Reach towards the as yet undeveloped flank of Silvertown. Peruvian Wharf's flattened footprint has been pencilled in for housing for 20 years, but last year the Port of London Authority finally wrested back control and it'll be used for cargo handling instead... mainly to supply materials for the construction of tens of thousands of homes elsewhere.

Crossing 11: Armada Green, East BecktonCross Ness, Thamesmead
Crossing 12: Cross Ness, ThamesmeadDagenham Dock, Dagenham

To finish with, another very close shave. My line very nearly doesn't brush against Thamesmead, without which it wouldn't have crossed the Thames at all, but does just scrape the shore at Cross Ness Lighthouse, a squat red tower from the analogue age of navigation. It reached here from the easternmost edge of Beckton, the very point at which the Gallions Reach Bridge may one day rise, then followed the Thames for just over two miles before hitting land. The final crossing is back to the industrial north bank, the very haven from which Dagenham Dock got its name, immediately alongside what's left of the Ford car plant. The Thames is now over 600m wide. And although there are still estuarine bends to come on the way down to Erith and then Essex, my line is now heading in completely the wrong direction because you can't hit them all. Twelve'll do nicely. [map showing my line]

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths
exploring urban wastelands

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain

read the archive
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards