LIFE'S A BEACH
|LIFE'S A BEACH | A revival of the Thames foreshores
is at hand|
Do you have your summer holiday booked
Take a closer look, with Inside Out, at the Thames foreshore - it
may just be the answer.
sea, beaches and... the Thames - was that the Thames?
Yes, the city's own river with it's own foreshore (that poses as a beach)
sun (we hope) and of course sea, well, salt water at least.
but a handful of months away, Londoners may well have their holidays all
But for many in London in the 1930s, "summer holidays at the beach"
were a mere 10 minute walk away.
Long hazy days of summer
for the days when summer 'never ended'|
23, 1934 Tower Foreshore, by Tower Bridge, was officially opened to the
King George V decreed that it was to be used by the children of London,
promising "free access for ever".
It was such a roaring success that between 1934 and 1939 over 500,000 people
dipped their toes in the water on London's very own seaside.
built sandcastles and swam in the "sea", there were even rowing
boats for hire. They were allowed to go under Tower Bridge, and back again,
for the cost of 3d (about 2.5p).
sellers, entertainers and deck-chair men were among the characters that
would be found on Brighton or Southend beaches - but they were also here.
sees new life on the Thames sands|
if the campaign group "Reclaim the Beach" has anything to do
with it, beach-life will be a prominent part of summer life for the city
regularly host public parties at the Festival Pier - complete with specially
imported sand as the original sand has all but disappeared.
the novelty of it is something that people enjoy," explains Pippa Gueterbock,
a member of Reclaim the Beach.
night time, it captures everyone's imagination as it is so beautiful -
you've got all of London laid out.
"Also there's the surprise factor - you can bring down a bucket and
spade and build a sandcastle!"
Snooks, who remembers many a Thames dip, would love to see the "beaches"
She would love to see changes, "Have all these beaches cleaned up
and have sand put on them, have these walls decorated with pictures for
has great affection for the Thames dipping days|
day, the foreshores were so popular that on one bank holiday, it was estimated
that as many as 50,000 people enjoyed the delights of what was dubbed
"It was mainly working class people, dockers' children," she
explained, "It's like a social gathering... but people are not mixing
and meeting any more - whether it would ever come back, I don't know,
but it would be one of my dreams come true."
Martha may well be able to relive those halcyon days before long.
Vive la différence
If you find it hard to read the words Thames and beaches in the same sentence
and think it would just be gales on the riverbank, take a look at the
On the Right Bank of the River Seine, they have done something similar.
plage avec une petite différence|
At the cost
of £1m, a three kilometre bank of the Seine became a new part of
their own Riviera life. It came complete with fake grass and palm trees.
So, it may just all hinge on today's young party lovers taking the lead.
As Pippa points out, "It's (Festival Hall beach) one of the few sandy
beaches in London, and it's perfect for this, it couldn't be better...
you've got this massive great view and it's bang in the middle of London."
Roll up, roll up - get it on a stick... vanilla, choc ...!
beach (foreshore) is in front of the Royal Festival Hall Access
by stairs either side of the Festival Pier. ...and yes, there is
sand along with the pebbles.
|Dotted lines represent pedestrian routes|
streches of foreshore, that masquerade as beaches, can be found
on the banks by the Oxo Tower, down river from the Tower of London,
at Hammersmith and Greenwich.
But with some locations not having secure access, and the power
of the tidal Thames, please follow common sense advice and stay
Reclaim the Beach advice:
- Use common sense and remember to check
where points of access are so that when the tide comes in
you're not stuck
- The Thames is a fast flowing river so just
be aware of tides (see below) and the currents
- You don't need a licence to use the foreshore
or the Thames for boats
- Find out when other low tides are and go
to the Port of London Authority website (see below)
- Respect the River- always take whatever
you bring away with you
- The Thames is one of the cleanest metropolitan
rivers in Europe, but just like any outdoor playground,
you'd wash your hands before putting you fingers in your
mouth, just like you mum says...
- Enjoy it! its yours to enjoy.