Day 56: Achievement 96. Go to Eel Pie Island

It was a fine Saturday morning in dull, suburban, west London.  Having been up for a while, with no sniff of a hangover, cycling down the Thames to Eel Pie Island seemed like an excellent plan.  Eel Pie Island is in the River Thames, accessed, in lieu of having a boat, by a footbridge from Twickenham Embankment.  Stern signs warn that the land and footbridge are private property; cycling isn’t permitted, nor is deviating from the footpath, nor is anything else much.  Reading the residents’ noticeboard was allowed, though.  Not that there was anything noteworthy.


Some bloke in neoprene crouches on private land

Comprising entirely of boat clubs and private dwellings, save the top-and-tail nature reserves, it seems a far cry from the days of the eponymous Eel Pie Island Hotel — an establishment that played home to jazz, R&B and rock musicians through the middle half of the 20th century.  It all ended with a hefty repair bill and, in 1971, a mysterious fire.  Read more on the BBC News website.

Vintage signage

Vintage signage

There was another incident in 2005 when, middle-class young-professionals’ pin-up of choice, Danny Wallace was rather taken by the idea of starting his own country.  Invading Eel Pie Island seemed to be a reasonable way to go about things quickly.  Alas, the residents disagreed and called in the fuzz.

If you happen to be in Twickenham, it’s probably worth having a stroll over to Eel Pie Island.  If you’re not, don’t go out of your way; you can spend, at most, five minutes on it.  And that includes two minutes to get a self-timed photograph to come out as you’d want.

More pics on Flickr.