Pink Doggy now near London

The inflatable Pink Dog floating downstream with the charity Thames Doggy swimmers should reach Richmond at noon this Wednesday 26 August.

The afternoon paddle goes past Kew Gardens and Chiswick to end at Putney, outside The Duke’s Head, at about 4.30pm.

The final day is Wednesday when the Pink Dog and party, probably safely in a boat, will pass under Tower Bridge at 4pm. Look out for the large dog outside All Bar One on Butler’s Wharf from about 4.30pm.

Thames Doggy swim

Ten swimmers set out this morning from St John’s Lock near Lechlade hoping to reach Putney by next Wednesday 26 August.

They are sponsored to raise over £200,000 for the Stem Cell Foundation.

The challenge is called the Thames Doggy because all ten are promising to do a doggy paddle rather than the breaststroke or butterfly.

Anyone walking up the Thames and wanting to know if the swimmers are due to appear can register for updates on the Thames Doggy website.

On Wednesday the last leg to Tower Bridge will be by boat with a large inflatable pink dog on board.

Lammas-tide in Southwark and Cricklade

Lammas is Anglo Saxon meaning loaf mass. On Lammas Day 1 August the first wheat from the harvest is made into a loaf for the bread to be consecrated with the wine at Mass.

This was the forerunner of Harvest Festival now held after the harvest.

Riverside Southwark Cathedral observes Lammastide on Friday 7 August with blessing of bread made in Borough Market. The procession to the cathedral starts from Bread Ahead in Borough Market at 12.15pm. Mass is at 12.45pm.

But Lammas also refers to the many Lammas meadows where on the 1 August hay is cut or cattle are allowed back to graze after a six month gap.

Lammas land is found along the River Lea which runs into the River Thames.

There are also Lammas meadows beside the Thames. In Staines it is a recreation ground where the barons gathered 800 years ago before meeting King John on Runnymede and agreeing Magna Carta.

Further upstream is Cricklade in Wiltshire where Lammas Day will be observed on Wednesday 12 August. This is because the town keeps the Old Calendar which was abandoned in 1752 with the famous loss of eleven days.

Cricklade’s Thames-side Lammas meadow is North Meadow. It is one of the finest examples of lowland hay meadow in Europe and noted for the scarce snake’s head fritillary. The gate will be pushed open for cattle and horses to return on Wednesday and stay until 13 February, Old Candlemas Day.

Battersea Railway Bridge: Thames Path improvements

Another stretch of the Thames Path is to be moved off road to the riverside.

Vacant Lombard Wharf, immediately downstream of Battersea Railway Bridge, is being redeveloped with a twisting 28-storey tower which is likely to be a controversial landmark.

From 2017 the Thames Path will cease to turn inland from Albion Quay to the road at the railway but instead run through a railway arch and across Lombard Wharf to join Regent Wharf.

Lombard Wharf is the proposed landing point for the Diamond Jubilee Footbridge.


Doggett’s 300th anniversary

Doggett’s Coat and Badge race takes place today Saturday 1 August at 11.30am.

It is a long time since the race was on a Saturday but it used to always be on 1 August and this year is the 300th anniversary of the first on 1 August 1715.

Dublin-born actor Thomas Doggett had just retired when he founded the race to celebrate the accession of the House of Hanover. George I had come to the throne the year before.

It is the oldest continuously run single sculling race in the world.

The young scullers can be seen on the river between London Bridge and Cadogan Pier in Chelsea. The finish will be about noon. The course was chosen by Thomas Doggett to be between The Swan inn at London Bridge and The Swan at Chelsea.

The winner receives a red watermen’s coat with a silver badge depicting the Hanover horse.

Last year the race was watched by Prince Philip.

A good place to visit today is Doggett’s Coat & Badge pub on the south end of Blackfriars Bridge.

David Sharp & Graham Corneck RIP

There are two Thames obituaries on The Guardian today.

The daughter of David Sharp writes about her father and his campaign for the Thames Path.

On the same page the daughter of Graham Corneck recalls her father as incumbent of St Nicholas Church at Deptford Green.

The ancient riverside parish is where the lighthouse authority Trinity House was founded. St Nicholas’s churchyard contains the body of Christopher Marlowe and I can remember seeing Canon Corneck presiding dramatically over a crowded gathering on the anniversary of the playwright’s baptism on 26 February.

The Vicar was also instrumental in involving the local MP Dame Joan Ruddock in the campaign for the Peter the Great statue at the Deptford Creek entrance.

Swan Upping

The scarlet coated Queen’s Swan Marker and the accompanying Swan Uppers of the Vintners’ and Dyers’ Livery Companies will arrive in six rowing skiffs at Henley for lunch today, Wednesday 22 July.

They set out from Marlow this morning having started the week at Sunbury. Tonight they reach George Clooney’s new home village, Sonning.

Tomorrow they can be seen going through Reading for an overnight stop at Moulsford. The final destination is Abingdon on Friday.

Swan ownership is shared by the Queen with the Vintners’ and Dyers’. Swan Upping is the annual count.


Nine Elms bridge proposals: No loss of path or trees

Plans have been released for a new pedestrian bridge linking Pimlico with Nine Elms.

The pending arrival of the American Embassy and massive redevelopment between the Waterloo railway line and Nine Elms Lane has led to this initiative supported by Wandsworth Council.

The landing for the bridge will be the riverside St George’s Gardens in front of St George’s Square on the Pimlico bank.

On the ‘south’ side it is between blocks of flats on Elm Quay where there is open space opposite Ponton Road/Nine Elms Lane junction.

Where the crossing differs from the controversial upstream Garden Bridge proposal is that Wandsworth has ensured that the loss of open space is kept to a minimum. The Garden Bridge requires the felling of trees and removal of grass. On Nine Elms bank there will be no loss of trees or grass.

Cyclists will be allowed to use the bridge.

Four designs have been shortlisted. A competition panel will choose one to go before the planning committee.

The proposals can be seen today until 7.30pm The Gallery on the Corner, 155 Battersea Park Road SW8 4BU. On Thursday 23 and Friday 24 July the designs and maps are in the Hyde Park Room, Regus Building, 8 Floor, 50 Broadway, SW1H 0RG from 9.30am to 6pm.

Syon 600

This Thursday 23 July is the feast day of St Bridget of Sweden who founded the Bridgettine Order.

Its English house opened on the banks of the River Thames at Syon in 1415 thanks to Henry V who was about to leave for France and the Battle of Agincourt.

The site is now occupied by Syon House which is the London home of the Duke of Northumberland. The location of the vast abbey church has been outlined on the edge of the tide meadow visible from the towpwath and Kew Gardens.

The convent is unique for it was not dissolved when evicted by Henry VIII. Instead the community went abroad to Portugal until safer times. These came in 1861 when the abbey relocated to Devon where its dissolution only came in 2011. Three sisters survive living independently.

The 600th anniversary of the abbey’s foundation was marked on Sunday 19 July with an outdoor ecumenical service attended by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Duke of Northumberland and Bridgettine sisters from other houses.

Kelmscott Manor bedroom: One of Britain’s 50 hidden gems

William Morris’s bedroom comes in at number 25 in The Daily Telegraph Saturday feature Far from the madding crowd: 50 hidden gems.

The room is part of Kelmscott Manor at Kelmscot by the River Thames near Lechlade.

  • Pages

  • Archives