Wandsworth: Cat’s Back looking good

New sign

New sign

The Cat’s Back is now displaying its Joe Goodwin plaque outside where there is a long seat.

Joe Goodwin Award plaque

Joe Goodwin Award plaque

The fine Harvey’s pub is in Point Pleasant, between the River Wandle and Wandsworth Park, and a good stopping point on autumn day.

The Cat's Back frontage in Point Pleasant

The Cat’s Back frontage in Point Pleasant


The only other Harvey’s of Lewis pub in London is the Royal Oak in Southwark, a short walk from the river down Borough High Street and left at St George the Martyr into Tabard Street.

Purley: Route improvement

New gate on the main road

New gate on the main road

The Thames Path at Purley has been improved.

The walk along the busy main road from the former Roebuck pub to the Skerritt Way residential road has been reduced. Now one can leave the road early and walk through Purley Beeches rather than following the road to a bus stop and walking down a flight of enclosed steps.

Path through Purley Beeches

Path through Purley Beeches

The directions will now read:

“Turn right through the gate in the flint wall (right) to follow a woodland path down to Skerritt
Way. Continue ahead along the road.”

This plan has been around since 1982, before the estate was completed. The wood is in the care of Purley Beeches Residents Association which levies a voluntary household fee towards the cost of maintenance.


Planting in Clink Street

The Thames Path, west of Southwark Cathedral, runs along Clink Street passing the remains of Winchester Palace’s Great Hall.

With two walls and the floor missing the wine cellar is open to the air. Now the area, which once collected rubbish, has been partly filled with plants.

London SE1 has the full story and history of the building.

Reading’s new bridge with no name

Reading's new bridge

Reading’s new bridge

The new foot and cycle bridge upstream of Reading Bridge has opened.

The crossing links the towpath with Christchurch Meadows and provides a pleasant walk for those wishing to reach Caversham.


Upstream side

Upstream side

However, it has met with a mixed reception.

Reading cyclists are dismayed that there is not a segregated cycle lane.

Also, the design of the ramp fencing means that walkers on the Thames Path briefly lose a river view.

View from towpath

View from towpath

Meanwhile, although there has been a formal opening by the Mayor of Reading, the bridge has not been given a name.

Suggestions being considered by Reading Council include Meadows Bridge, Christchurch Bridge, Fry’s Bridge (after upstream Fry’s Island) and de Montford Bridge (after Robert de Montford who won a joust on the island against Henry of Essex).

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.

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