Chairman: Peter Finch
Secretary: Susan Raber
The area covered by the Branch extends from Putney to the Estuary – from largely residential with occasional working wharves, through the historic centre of London, to converted warehouses and docks, down to the existing port areas , open country on both banks, to the sea.
Ships range from recreational craft to ferries, tugs towing barges to very large container vessels, visiting square-rigged ships to cruise liners.
Our Branch deals with many planning and environmental issues, from an application to modify a listed building through to large-scale developments, with those proposed at Convoys’s Wharf, Deptford and Swanscombe just two current examples. We also seek to maintain and improve public access to the river, such as the former waterman’s stairs, draw-docks and other former boat-landing places, together with preserving the current, vitally important ship repair and building facilities.
We have a volunteer River Warden scheme ( shared with Upper Tideway Branch), with members responsible for particular stretches or reaches of the river, reporting and problems on the Thames Path or foreshore, which are then taken up with the appropriate authorities. Members also organise clean-ups along the banks, often in co-operation with local groups and Thames 21, a major environmental charity.
The Branch, as did the Society as a whole, supported the construction of the Tideway Tunnel, which will end the scandal of sewage entering the river at times of heavy rainfall, we have taken part in campaigns to create nature reserves and for using the river rather than roads for transporting goods and materials.
We maintain liaison with the Port of London Authority, regional and local councils, industrial and recreational groups , including rowing and sailing clubs and seek to take part in conferences, research and other activities looking at aspects of river life.
On the social side we organise events, ranging from talks with visiting speakers to river walks and trips to visits to places of interest. Recent examples include a screening of a film about the river made by a member who is a former BBC director, to a walk along the Thames Path in Wapping and Limehouse, to a visit to the PLA’s pilots’ simulator at Gravesend.
Details of our branch events are listed in the Events Diary.
Branch Chairman's Update - February 2022
In December last year we held a well-attended Christmas lunch at the Walrus & Carpenter, near Monument.
* In January, we visited the exhibition " London : Port City " at the Museum of London Docklands, followed by lunch in The Ledger Building, West India Dock.
Members also attended the annual Blessing of the River, in which clergy and congregations from Southwark Cathedral and Church of St Magnus- the - Martyr in the City meet in the middle of London Bridge.
We were also represented at a ceremony marking the opening of the new England Coast Path, from Woolwich Foot Tunnel to Grain.
* In February we continued our exploration of the Thames Path in the Branch's area with a walk from Canary Wharf to Island Gardens.
In March we will hold our Annual General Meeting at The Angel, Rotherhithe.
On planning issues. we continued to support efforts to maintain the Custom House near Tower Bridge for public use and Swanscombe Peninsula as a nature reserve, sought improvements to Thames Path signage in Southwark, opposed an application to add additional floors to Minerva House, Southwark which could block views of the Cathedral tower and cause local disruption.
There are vacancies for River Wardens on some reaches of the tidal Thames - Teddington to Thames Barrier.
Our wardens walk or cycle along the Thames Path, reporting any problems : mis-placed signs, obstacles encountered, graffiti , missing life buoys, foreshore rubbish etc.
An important job, not too arduous, keeping you in touch with the river.
For further information or volunteering offers contact : Peter Finch, sailor firstname.lastname@example.org, 07711 419772.
Future branch events are listed on the Events page.