The Riverside Community
The Twickenham Riverside is a thriving community of individuals, homes, businesses and community organisations. From over the bridge on Eel Pie Island, to the meandering path that takes you from the embankment all the way to Richmond Bridge, you’ll encounter some wonderful people who make Twickenham Riverside what it is today.
We want to bring some of that to life here and we’ll continue to update this page with more activities and stories as we go.
Rowing in Twickenham
The unique position of the Riverside, on one of London’s most beautiful stretches of the Thames, makes Twickenham one of the most idyllic places to row. There’s a fantastic rowing club on Eel Pie Island, founded in 1860, making it one of the oldest and largest rowing clubs in London. You can learn how to row, take part in competitions and hire out a great club venue. Find out more here
Boats, boatyards and the Ferry
Our local Riverside is home to a thriving network of boats and ferries, including the popular Hammertons Ferry service, which takes people across the river to Ham and Ham House. Hammertons Ferry was originally opened in 1908 and is now run by the Spencer family.
Eel Pie Island
Eel Pie island was once a hub for jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Many famous artists played within the ballroom at the legendary Eel Pie Island Hotel, including Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton and The Who.
In 1963, there was a period where you could come and see The Rolling Stones play at the Eel Pie Island Hotel every week. Towards the end of the sixties, the club was forced to close because the owners couldn’t afford the repairs it so desperately needed. Shortly afterwards, it was taken over by a group of anarchists, and Eel Pie Island quickly became one of the UK’s largest hippie communes.
Eel Pie Island is now home to 26 artists’ studios that open to the public twice a year – the only opportunity you’ll have to visit the island, unless you happen to know one of the 120-odd residents that live there.
The Ice Cream Van Tradition
On the embankment in Twickenham, the local ice-cream van is a popular sight when the weather improves and when the area is in full use by familes, walkers and people enjoying the local environment. The van is usually positioned at the foot of the Eel Pie Island bridge, and we hope to profile those who are involved on our news and blog pages.
The bucolic stretch of the river Thames, between Hampton and Kew, became known as Arcadia, from the mid 18th century. Only a short distance upstream from London, the pastoral settlement of Twickenham, became a fashionable retreat for the great artistic and literary minds of the day. For them, Arcadia symbolised a return to rural simplicity which proved to be the purest source of creativeness.
Swimming & Promenading in the Thames
Bathing in the Thames, was historically a popular pastime for generations of city dwellers and the steps opposite Marble Hill Park’s river gate remain a popular launch spot to this day. Swimming there eventually fell out of favour during the 19th century as the water's became more polluted. In 1957 The Natural History Museum declared the Thames ‘biologically dead’. Since then, there has been a concerted effort to clean the capital’s waterways. Though it is wise to check water conditions before taking a swim, heavy rain and the tidal flow can affect water quality.
Swimmers must always carry a floating device as strong currents and undertows are commonplace. Additionally, swimmers should wear luminous caps so that passing vessels can be alerted to their whereabouts.
Choose your launch spot carefully. The Swan Beach along Riverside has a shallow descent as does Champion’s Wharf slipway on/by the Embankment.
Local Friends, Groups and Societies
Borough of Twickenham Local History Society focuses on the history of Twickenham, Whitton, Teddington and the Hamptons. Meetings are held at St Mary’s Hall every month.
Friends of Marble Hill promote all things Marble Hill House and Park.
Friends of Radnor Gardens assist in the provision of restoration work and improvements to the small river-facing park which lies adjacent to Cross Deep.
Friends of the River Crane are a community-led group whose activities revolve around the River Crane Corridor. There is something for everyone.
Habitats and Heritage work to protect and restore threatened rivers, green spaces, parks and historic built environment for this and future generations.
Twickenham Society exists to make Twickenham a better place in which to live. It seeks to stimulate public interest in, and care for, the beauty, history and character of the area and its surroundings.
York House Society was founded in 1924 and has a special interest in central Twickenham, York House and its environs including the Riverside.