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The Thames - Not the most welcoming river

Old Crusty

Active member
Joined
28 Aug 2017
Messages
681
It's been a while since I "outed" myself as a looker-on to this forum. However, I have to say that since my late husband and I had to give up boating - in 2012 - after 21 very happy years on both the Thames and the Canals, it seems as if things have deteriorated a lot. We had a little Freeman 22 - 6ft10 so were able to go not just on the Thames but also on the canals. In fact, our first big excursion was down the Thames, onto the Grand Union (at 4.00 in the morning to catch the tide right), up through the locks at Hanwell (with help from a lovely young man) and eventually onto the Oxford Canal and then down to the Thames again. It took three weeks and was magical - though there were plenty of scary times! Since then we had lots of years on both the Thames and the Canals. We hardly ever encountered any animosity - a couple of times someone objected to where we were moored so we would move if it enabled another boat to get in between us and the next one (no worries there). I can't really understand why this situation has seemed to deteriorate so much - my fond memory of the Thames particularly is the way that we would always acknowledge each other by a wave as we passed, and then happily speak to each other when we got to our mutual mooring spot.
We have a Freeman 26 and I'm pleased to tell you that, despite the occasional negativity on this forum, the Thames is still a delight to boat on. Most boaters still wave to each other and Freeman owners wave frantically because we are a part of a big, classic family. The river is one of the last bits of real community left in the UK so please keep those fond memories :)
 

Outinthedinghy

Active member
Joined
18 May 2008
Messages
907
Location
Limehouse hole
I always wave at everyone on boats regardless what type of boat they have. Always have and always will. It's a nice environment.

I do tend to not moor near big luxury looking widebeam boats though.

As someone who has been living and travelling on canals and the Thames since the mid nineties I have seen the march of the widebeams. It doesn't mean I dislike someone who has one. It is a very sensible type of boat if you are looking for a floating apartment but I do object to the noise production from the engine.

The 8am thing comes from BW/CRT guidelines which suggest one should not run the engine stationary between 8pm and 8am. This is a green light for people to start the engine at exactly 8am.

On a pleasure waterway this is too early to be starting an engine and remaining in the same position for the next few hours. Plus the majority of these boats have dry exhaust systems and don't have hospital silencers.


It might not be a big deal to anyone else but I find the peace and quiet is quite nice on the River. This includes boats going past and other people doing things but it does not include intrusive low level noise like engines or generators running first thing in the morning.

The Paloma is dead. Long live the Paloma!
 

AuntyRinum

Well-known member
Joined
30 Jul 2003
Messages
10,859
Location
Travelling
I always wave at everyone on boats regardless what type of boat they have. Always have and always will. It's a nice environment.

I do tend to not moor near big luxury looking widebeam boats though.

As someone who has been living and travelling on canals and the Thames since the mid nineties I have seen the march of the widebeams. It doesn't mean I dislike someone who has one. It is a very sensible type of boat if you are looking for a floating apartment but I do object to the noise production from the engine.

The 8am thing comes from BW/CRT guidelines which suggest one should not run the engine stationary between 8pm and 8am. This is a green light for people to start the engine at exactly 8am.

On a pleasure waterway this is too early to be starting and engine and remaining in the same position for the next few hours.


It might not be a big deal to anyone else but I find the peace and quiet is quite nice. This includes boats going past and other people but it does not include intrusive low level noise.

The Paloma is dead. Long live the Paloma!
I have a widebeam and I quite agree with you. A lot of people who know nothing about boats and boating buy widebeams and the spiv types don't give a toss about anyone else.
Not all widebeam owners are like that though.
 

boatone

Well-known member
Joined
29 Jul 2001
Messages
12,678
Location
Just a few cables from Boulters Lock
I have a widebeam and I quite agree with you. A lot of people who know nothing about boats and boating buy widebeams and the spiv types don't give a toss about anyone else.
Not all widebeam owners are like that though.
Agree, its the people on boats that cause issues, not the types of boats themselves.
I often engage with owners of both NBs and WBs - some I like and some not so much. However, they are all boaters and if they are paying their registration fees, which most are, they are making a significant contribution to the funding of the river - far more than many may realise. The biggest issue is their impact on available mooring space and river users could do much to improve that if they had the will.
 

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
22,847
Location
SW Scotland
It's been a while since I "outed" myself as a looker-on to this forum. However, I have to say that since my late husband and I had to give up boating - in 2012 - after 21 very happy years on both the Thames and the Canals, it seems as if things have deteriorated a lot.
'Twas ever so. From 1889:


We stopped under the willows by Kempton Park, and lunched. It is a
pretty little spot there: a pleasant grass plateau, running along by the
water’s edge, and overhung by willows. We had just commenced the third
course—the bread and jam—when a gentleman in shirt-sleeves and a short
pipe came along, and wanted to know if we knew that we were trespassing.
We said we hadn’t given the matter sufficient consideration as yet to
enable us to arrive at a definite conclusion on that point, but that, if
he assured us on his word as a gentleman that we _were_ trespassing, we
would, without further hesitation, believe it.

He gave us the required assurance, and we thanked him, but he still hung
about, and seemed to be dissatisfied, so we asked him if there was
anything further that we could do for him; and Harris, who is of a chummy
disposition, offered him a bit of bread and jam.

I fancy he must have belonged to some society sworn to abstain from bread
and jam; for he declined it quite gruffly, as if he were vexed at being
tempted with it, and he added that it was his duty to turn us off.

Harris said that if it was a duty it ought to be done, and asked the man
what was his idea with regard to the best means for accomplishing it.
Harris is what you would call a well-made man of about number one size,
and looks hard and bony, and the man measured him up and down, and said
he would go and consult his master, and then come back and chuck us both
into the river.

Of course, we never saw him any more, and, of course, all he really
wanted was a shilling. There are a certain number of riverside roughs
who make quite an income, during the summer, by slouching about the banks
and blackmailing weak-minded noodles in this way. They represent
themselves as sent by the proprietor. The proper course to pursue is to
offer your name and address, and leave the owner, if he really has
anything to do with the matter, to summon you, and prove what damage you
have done to his land by sitting down on a bit of it. But the majority
of people are so intensely lazy and timid, that they prefer to encourage
the imposition by giving in to it rather than put an end to it by the
exertion of a little firmness.

Where it is really the owners that are to blame, they ought to be shown
up. The selfishness of the riparian proprietor grows with every year.
If these men had their way they would close the river Thames altogether.
They actually do this along the minor tributary streams and in the
backwaters. They drive posts into the bed of the stream, and draw chains
across from bank to bank, and nail huge notice-boards on every tree. The
sight of those notice-boards rouses every evil instinct in my nature. I
feel I want to tear each one down, and hammer it over the head of the man
who put it up, until I have killed him, and then I would bury him, and
put the board up over the grave as a tombstone.
 

Old Crusty

Active member
Joined
28 Aug 2017
Messages
681
'Twas ever so. From 1889:

We stopped under the willows by Kempton Park, and lunched. It is a
pretty little spot there: a pleasant grass plateau, running along by the
water’s edge, and overhung by willows. We had just commenced the third
course—the bread and jam—when a gentleman in shirt-sleeves and a short
pipe came along, and wanted to know if we knew that we were trespassing.
We said we hadn’t given the matter sufficient consideration as yet to
enable us to arrive at a definite conclusion on that point, but that, if
he assured us on his word as a gentleman that we _were_ trespassing, we
would, without further hesitation, believe it.
He gave us the required assurance, and we thanked him, but he still hung
about, and seemed to be dissatisfied, so we asked him if there was
anything further that we could do for him; and Harris, who is of a chummy
disposition, offered him a bit of bread and jam.
I fancy he must have belonged to some society sworn to abstain from bread
and jam; for he declined it quite gruffly, as if he were vexed at being
tempted with it, and he added that it was his duty to turn us off.
Harris said that if it was a duty it ought to be done, and asked the man
what was his idea with regard to the best means for accomplishing it.
Harris is what you would call a well-made man of about number one size,
and looks hard and bony, and the man measured him up and down, and said
he would go and consult his master, and then come back and chuck us both
into the river.
Of course, we never saw him any more, and, of course, all he really
wanted was a shilling. There are a certain number of riverside roughs
who make quite an income, during the summer, by slouching about the banks
and blackmailing weak-minded noodles in this way. They represent
themselves as sent by the proprietor. The proper course to pursue is to
offer your name and address, and leave the owner, if he really has
anything to do with the matter, to summon you, and prove what damage you
have done to his land by sitting down on a bit of it. But the majority
of people are so intensely lazy and timid, that they prefer to encourage
the imposition by giving in to it rather than put an end to it by the
exertion of a little firmness.
Where it is really the owners that are to blame, they ought to be shown
up. The selfishness of the riparian proprietor grows with every year.
If these men had their way they would close the river Thames altogether.
They actually do this along the minor tributary streams and in the
backwaters. They drive posts into the bed of the stream, and draw chains
across from bank to bank, and nail huge notice-boards on every tree. The
sight of those notice-boards rouses every evil instinct in my nature. I
feel I want to tear each one down, and hammer it over the head of the man
who put it up, until I have killed him, and then I would bury him, and
put the board up over the grave as a tombstone.
Who could have known that District Enforcement had existed for so long :p
 

Outinthedinghy

Active member
Joined
18 May 2008
Messages
907
Location
Limehouse hole
Interesting it mentioned Kempton Park as being beside the River.

These days it is a racecourse and quite a distance from the Thames but in the old days I guess it was a stately home with huge amounts of land so I suppose the waterside area below Sunbury lock on the side opposite the towing path was probably part of "Kempton Park".

One thing which wealthy land owners seem to like doing is getting more money.
Even if they don't need it. It's just a bit of sport I guess.


Eta Wikipedia article mentions the River

"At this time the manor contained the eastern part of the parish of Sunbury, adjoining Sunbury manor at a line running approximately along the course of the c.1920-formalised road the Avenue.[3] This area forms most of the ward of Sunbury East.[10]Common land for all of the riverside villagers to make use of was to the north for all three parishes from Hampton to Shepperton.[11]This area forms the wards of Sunbury Common and Ashford Common.[10]"
 
Last edited:

Time Out

Active member
Joined
19 Dec 2015
Messages
674
Interesting it mentioned Kempton Park as being beside the River.

These days it is a racecourse and quite a distance from the Thames but in the old days I guess it was a stately home with huge amounts of land so I suppose the waterside area below Sunbury lock on the side opposite the towing path was probably part of "Kempton Park".

One thing which wealthy land owners seem to like doing is getting more money.
Even if they don't need it. It's just a bit of sport I guess.


Eta Wikipedia article mentions the River

"At this time the manor contained the eastern part of the parish of Sunbury, adjoining Sunbury manor at a line running approximately along the course of the c.1920-formalised road the Avenue.[3] This area forms most of the ward of Sunbury East.[10]Common land for all of the riverside villagers to make use of was to the north for all three parishes from Hampton to Shepperton.[11]This area forms the wards of Sunbury Common and Ashford Common.[10]"
Ha ! bit like 'London' Gatwick ;) although I can get to my central London office quicker from Gatwick by train than LHR and the underground, that's another conversation though...
 
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