Category Archives: The Thames

In praise of…the river

A meeting of cloud, sky and sun over the Thames

A meeting of cloud, sky and sun over the Thames

Yes, yes, it’s an obvious choice and hardly needs pointing out, but then again it’s perhaps because it is so obvious that it does need praising. Aren’t we just so lucky to live on the River Thames?

Growing up far from London the idea you could live within strolling distance of the Thames would have been met with incredulous scoffs about price, availability of places, and other derision, and many friends in other areas of London often seem surprised by the closeness of the river when they come to visit: “What, it’s just down there?” “Yeah, come on I’ll show you.”

What’s so nice, so engrossing, is the endless change that it brings to the area. Any stroll down to the banks and you’re greeted by the tides in various states of rising and falling, sometimes pouring over the edge of the pavements, other times leaving huge expanses of dry shingle shore expose for dogs to charge along and children to play on, even runners to jog across.

Heading across Putney Bridge, on the tube or on the foot bridge, always brings pleasure, even surprise, no matter how often you do it, that you should be greeted to such fine views from a tube carriage – so often that clichéd-comic concept of sweaty armpits shoved in your face. Those people have obviously never travelled in through the back street houses of Fulham and out onto Putney Bridge to be greeted by the beauty of an ebbing tide and a long, slow sunset flitting between the cast-iron fittings into the carriage as you rattle home from work.

River Thames on New Year's Day 2013

River Thames on New Year’s Day 2013

Then, for running, walking, cycling, as you curve up and around to Hammersmith Bridge, as the road gives way to a woody, earthen track, perfect for a feeling of escape and wildlife, the rowers stroking in sync,  the birds circling around. You can follow it for miles if you wish, or just loop back around through Barnes, Putney Common, or back on the north side past Fulham FC.

The boat race – we’ll save that for another time – and the boats you can ride up the river to Embankment, Blackfriars to get to work – we’ll also save that for another time…there’s so much to enjoy and be intoxicated by, to help you ruminate, to escape the London that can get you down – the mad, over-the-top, over-priced, endless-battle city it can sometime seems.

But there, at the bottom of the hill, Old Father Thames – the same river the Romans saw when they first arrived, the same river generations of Kings and Queens have ruled over, the same river that has inspired Shakespeare, Dickens and Wordsworth, just keeps rolling in and rolling out.

We should remember this, and praise it, because right now in all that rich span of history, stretching out over millennia, it’s ours.


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Filed under Good Putney, Sunsets, The Thames, Tides, Water, Weather

Time and tide stay for no man

super high tides in PutneyOn St Mary’s Church at the bottom of the high-street is a small sign beneath the clock bearing the words “Time and tide stay for no man”. Certainly living in Putney the tide plays an integral role in the mood and feel of the area. It rises and falls to create vastly different impressions of the river and the areas along it. The low tides leave huge expanses of beach exposed, letting you stroll right down along the edge of the river, where as the high tides give the river much more majesty – the contrast between the two really underlines just how much water is moved up the Thames each day.

Occasionally  they reach such heights that they flood over the embankment and toe-path along the south side of the river West of Putney Bridge, catching those out not aware of the impeding flood. We saw several cars were caught out, and The Putney Paper saw plenty of runners and cyclists come to a slow, gradual halt as they peered in front of them and realised the way was blocked and alternative routes were required.

The super high tides are actually quite a common occurrence throughout the year, as this list on the excellent shows. This year they’ll be at least 50 this year. Today’s hit 7.38 meters but the highest will be on 25 July, at 04:54am, reaching 7.54 meters. A date for the diary. It’s a strange sensastion when the boats moored on the river appear higher than the road on which you’re walking.


Interestingly, the Jubilee river flotilla event took place on a day when the tide would have usually flooded the bank but given the need for normal access on that day the flood barriers were shut upstream to help keep the tides at bay.

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Filed under The Thames, Tides, Water

A late night Putney stroll

With the mild weather making the start of January feel more like April The Putney Paper took a lovely evening stroll down the river and snapped some pictures as we did so. Some of our favourites are below:


The sweep of the river away to the West.


Blues lines in the water.


The old and the new, side by side.


Is that the time?


The welcoming lights of home.

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Filed under Good Putney, The Thames, Weather

After an amazing 2012, what does 2013 have in store?

In many ways it’s going to be hard for Putney to have a better 2013 than it did in 2012. We didn’t just play host to one world event, but two.

Firstly there was the brilliant Diamond Jubilee celebrations that saw thousands of boats pass under Putney Bridge, with many mustering and setting off from our fair shores down at the slipway, which made the river a huge mix of colours and noise, giving some impression of what the river of old must have been like when it was  festooned with all types of working boats and river taxis.


Then, as if that wasn’t enough, we had the women’s and men’s Olympic road cycle races come careering up the high street, make a quick right at the crossroads and then pass down the Upper Richmond Road, bringing out millions of spectators and letting the world see our lovely piece of London in all its glory.


So what events can we look forward to in 2013? Well of course there’s the boat race, althoguh that will also have to go some to beat the drama of 2012 when that nutter Trenton Oldfield jumped into the river and almost got his head caved in by an oar, but even if that doesn’t happen, it’s always a top weekend.

Other than that, though, there’s nothing marked in our calendars but perhaps we’re overlooking some key events, so if you know of something big going on, or are hosting an event at any point this year, let us know and we’ll add it to our events calendar for the year ahead!

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Filed under Culture, Good Putney, History, London, Sport, The Thames, Water

2013 – starting as we mean to go on

For various reasons beyond our control The Putney Paper has been in hiatus for far too long. However, with 2013 now upon us and the pressure of resolutions to be made, we will return bigger, stronger, faster than ever before, with a guarantee of at least one blog a week! Stay tuned and make sure you’re following @theputneypaper on Twitter to be informed about the weekly posts as soon as they’re live!

To celebrate here’s a lovely New Year’s Day photo of the river.

River Thames on New Year's Day 2013

River Thames on New Year’s Day 2013

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Made in Chelsea (courtesy of Putney)

The brainless socialities of Made In Chelsea get about a bit. This week’s mad cap episode saw them jetting off to the delight of Tin Cannes and, closer to home, enjoying the wonderful surrounds of Wandsworth Park for a naked photo shoot. Well, quite.

Of course, this in Putney, not Chelsea, so the title of the show is wrong on that count (one nil to The Putney Paper), and there’s been a few other times when the show has proved less than accurate to reality (shock!) such as when the perennially confused Spencer left the doe-eyed Funda broken-hearted, The PP is sure he ventured out on to the Upper Richmond Road, perhaps popping for a quick Ma Goa to feed his sorrows. Anyway, the shots in the park looked great, with a stiff – steady – Thames wind blowing in and the sun lying long over the grass.

We assumed they filmed the piece early in the morning to avoid over-exposure to poor Putneyites, but actually it seemed as if it was a fairly normal time of day with plenty of runners and walkers about – where you one of them, did you see a posh, long-haired doofus straddling a tree with two slightly horse girls looking on?

If so…let us know!

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Filed under Celebrities, Chelsea, Other places, The Thames, Weather

The longtitude and latitudes of Putney = fantastic sunsets

One of the lovely things about Putney is just how straight it seems to lie on the compass lines of East and West. The Upper and Lower Richmond roads both appear to run almost due West (or East depending on the way you’re facing, of course) which means there are some wonderfully clear lines of sight for wonderful sunsets over of a long summer evening.

Tonight was one such night, with a beautiful sky shimmering under the heat and haze of a long sunset that glinted over the river and in to the rattling District Line tube The Putney Paper was sat on trundling home.

As the  banner header on the top of this page proves, gorgeous sunsets over the Thames are not a rarity in Putney, but every time you catch sight of one, with the sky a clear sweep of blue shades, from dark to light as East becomes West when daylight draws itself out of the day, you can’t help but feel somehow uplifted, improved but the sight of it.

Click on the picture to enlarge, resolution not the strongest as taken on my camera phone, but still pretty good, you hopefully concur.

Not all tube lines provide these sorts of views

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Filed under Good Putney, Sunsets, The Thames, Weather