Learning to swim in the River Thames

From Tumblin Bay Weir to Desborough Cut, readers relive their memories of splashing around in the river for fun or with classes of youngsters from schools in the area

More water babies

Doreen Love

It is obvious that lots of you have fond recollections of swimming in the Thames during your youth and I’ve received a number of phone calls and emails from people thanking me for reviving old memories.

Good Thames times


GOING FOR A DIP: People going for a swim in the Thames is an increasingly common sight these days, but it wasn’t always so.
(Photo courtesy of the Outdoor Swimming Society)

One of my colleagues recently decided to swim in the Thames to raise money for charity and she bravely navigated the river all the way from Hampton Court to Kingston Bridge in just over an hour and three-quarters which was good going.

Very sad end of era

I was really sad to see this photo of the ruins of the old Thornycroft yard on Platts Eyot going up in flames last week. It truly marked the end of a era in a very sad way as the blaze, which was fought by fire crews from all over the area, put the final nail in the coffin of what was once a thriving local business that built some of the finest fast launches in the world.

Salute the little ships

We really are a stubborn bunch on this island, aren’t we? We just never know when we’re beaten and we’re determined not to be pushed around by bullies.

Nothing if not ambitious

Last year in this column, I wrote that I thought the authorities should introduce a mandatory test and a licence of competence before anyone was allowed to take a boat out on the water – and several people jumped down my throat, berating me for proposing to introduce more bureaucracy into our leisure time.

Lady of the Lock

Patricia Eustace’s life has been very closely tied to the River Thames. This charming 86-year-old has spent all her life living beside the river – 60 years in a lovely house overlooking Shepperton Lock – and she was one of several readers who responded to my invitation to share their memories of learning to swim in the Thames.