Sunday, 3 July 2016

Riverside - south of the river and west of the Tower. Ham Lands and Teddington Lock

Riverside - south of the river and west of the Tower. Ham Lands and Teddington Lock

This post has sites south of the river only. North of the river is Teddington

Post to the north Ham Lands and Twickenham Crossdeep
Post to the east Ham and Hawker and Teddington Broom Hall

Ham Lands
Nature reserve – this covers the area between Riverside Drive and the river. This is  a stretch of low-lying fields extending into grasslands and scrub, sometimes of considerable width following the curve of the Thames. Recently Part of these lands once belonged to Secrett Farm and part were half yearly Lammas lands. Much of Ham belonged to the Dysarts and ensured their privacy but this did not save these lands being dug for gravel in the late 19th.  Freshwater marsh plants provide some of the flora for this strip of diverse habitat. Three types of orchid grow which is partly due to the chalky character of the infill used at the former gravel workings. Other unusual species found in these former water meadows include the bloody cranesbill and salad burnet which also reflect this underlying substrate. The common plants like rosebay willowherb or yarrow are balanced with dittander and moth mullein. This length of well-vegetated riverside attracts a wide range of insects, including 19 species of butterfly. The hawthorn and willow scrub is cover for numerous birds from woodpeckers and whitethroats to willow warblers and reed buntings. There are also amphibians like the grass snake.

River
Teddington Lock.  The lock marks the limit of the Port of London Authority. Downstream of the lock is the Tideway. Above the lock is managed by the Environment Agency. From 1802 plans for locks in between Staines and Teddington, were drawn up but there were problems with landowners and this bit of river has always been a problem to navigation because of shallows. The City of London Corporation obtained an Act in 1810 for construction of locks and weirs here and this was done by Stephen Leach. Work here began in 1810 but there were delays. The lock opened in 1811, built slightly upstream on the site now covered by the footbridge. By 1827 the timber lock needed repair and in 1829 the weir was destroyed by ice and damaged by the 1840s wash from steamers was giving trouble.  In 1848 after Old London Bridge was removed the water level fell by over two feet.  There were proposals to rebuild the lock in 1854 proposals to include capacity for seagoing craft. This opened in 1858 together with the narrow skiff lock.
Barge lock – this has gates which allow it to operate in two sizes. It is the largest lock on the river and was built in 1904–1905.
Skiff lock. This opened in 1858.
Weir – this is bow shaped weir which stretches to Teddington from an island. It dates from 1811 but was rebuilt in 1871
Teddington Lock Footbridge – this is two bridges separated by the island and it opened in 1889
Obelisk. Erected in 1909 to mark the boundary between Thames Conservancy and Port of London Authority jurisdiction. It says "Thames Conservancy Lower Limit 1909".
Thames Aqueducts.  The water supply Ring main passes under here. It was begun in 1960 but it had been suggested in 1935 – a tunnel to take water from the Thames above Teddington to North London.  It is built in 102in diameter tunnel in interlocking concrete rings for 19 miles, starts at Hampton Water Works and finishes at the Lockwood reservoir.  Built by Sir William Halcrow & Partners.


Sources
Clunn. The Face of London
Greater London Council. Thames Guidelines.
London Encyclopaedia.
London Transport. Country Walks
Parker.  North Surrey
Penguin. Surrey
Pevsner and Cherry. South London
Stevenson. Surrey
Walford. Village London
Wikipedia. As appropriate.

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