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River Thames Society Annual General Meeting 2019


The River Thames Society’s 57th Annual General Meeting took place on 6 April at the Thames Lodge Hotel, Staines and members  present heard an address from Chairman Peter Finch,endorsed the annual report and accounts, elected the Council and discussed a number of river-related matters.

Of the Council, a new member Tom Berman was elected ; Rupert Bagilhole, Jack Betteridge, Gillian Rix and John Tamsitt were elected for a further term as was Roy Miller, who had previously been co-opted. The Branch Chairmen endorsed as ex-officio members were Colin Reynolds ( Upper Thames), John Skuse ( Middle Thames), Jackie Lambert ( Teddington to Old Windsor), Hilary Pereira ( Upper Tideway), Peter Finch ( Central Tideway & Estuary). A full list of Council members can be found on page 27.

The President  Lord Owen ,Vice- President Lady Borwick , Company Secretary & Honorary Solicitor Guy Barlow ,Independent Examiner  Ian Anderson  and Administrator, Helen Batten were thanked for their attendance and assistance during the year.

At a subsequent Council meeting Peter Finch was elected as Chairman, Les Jones Vice-Chairman ( Non-Tidal), Jack Betteridge Vice-Chairman ( Tidal) and John Tamsitt Honorary Treasurer.



The Society has always taken an interest in planning, on or by the Thames. Guidelines have been drawn up, under five themes based on our overall aims:

• Improve/maintain public access to the river • Protect the natural environment • Promote the best built environment • Keep the river active • Support like-minded others.

The RTS has a special contribution to make as we incorporate all those interested in the Thames and its active users. We cover all parts of the river and can bring expertise from many quarters. Unlike many amenity societies we cover both banks, we have no commercial interests and believe we are uniquely placed to present a balanced view. Planning is led by our five branches, so please help them by bringing key applications to their attention in time for comments to be submitted. If you have a special interest in planning, please do volunteer your services. The full version of the Planning Guidelines can be found under Publications.



Wildlife organisations, river and environmental groups and community associations worked hard on plans for the sixth Thames Tidefest  held on the tidal Thames in London on Sunday September 8th.

Tidefest is now an established River Thames event which aims to highlight the recreational importance of the Thames to Londoners and to encourage people to 'enjoy the river'. It is part of the month long Totally Thames Festival and is sponsored by Thames Water and Fuller, Smith & Turner with support from the London Borough of Hounslow, Thames Festival, Port of London Authority and the Environment Agency.

Tidefest was once again based at Strand-on-the-Green in Chiswick with activities and events at Brentford, Barnes, Twickenham, Deptford and other locations along the Thames Tideway.

There were  loads of great activities for all the family including children’s games, foreshore walks, angling competition, boat trips, paddleboarding, river dipping, kayaking, nature reserve visits, water games, stalls and displays, talks and film showings, live fish tanks, local artists, food, music and generous discounts off admissions to the London Museum of Water and Steam and the Eel Pie Island museum.


Tidefest is a great opportunity to enjoy a day by the river with lots to see and do – both on and off the water. You can discover what lives in the river, explore the river’s archaeological history or get out on the water by boat, kayak or even Stand Up Paddleboard. The London Wildlife Trust and the RSPB will also be on hand to talk about London’s wildlife and there will be special photo walks and talks all aimed at bringing this amazing ‘wildlife corridor’ to life.

Tidefest is now a well-established annual event that grows in popularity every year and which aims to help reconnect Londoners with their river. The Thames holds over 120 different species of fish and is home to a tremendous array of birds yet surprisingly few people are aware of what a great resources we have here in the heart of London. Once again there will be a special emphasis on highlighting the menace of plastic pollution which is doing so much harm in our rivers and oceans.

There were a range of new attractions this year with new boat trips on the Thames and visits to the Deptford Creek and Thames Water’s Kempton Nature reserve.











RTS out and about on the river:

Tudor Pull

Tudor Pull

(picture credit: Sue Milton)

RTS’s cutter the Thames Guardian joined the Queen’s row barge Gloriana in the annual ceremonial Tudor Pull .

Rowed by the Royal Watermen and escorted by craft from the City Livery Companies, and other clubs and organisations, Gloriana carried the ‘stela’ – a slice of ancient wooden water pipe – from Hampton Court Palace to the Tower of London.