Teddington LockEdit profile
A309 Hampton Court Bridge
Thames Ditton Island
A308 Kingston Bridge
Kingston Railway Bridge
Teddington Lock is a complex of three locks and a weir on the River Thames in England at Ham in the western suburbs of London. The lock is on the southern Surrey side of the river. The river downstream of the lock, known as the Tideway, is entirely tidal. The boundary point between the Port of London Authority, which is the navigation authority downstream, and the Environment Agency, which is the navigation authority upstream is marked by an obelisk on the Surrey bank a few hundred yards below the lock. The lock complex consists of three locks, a conventional launch lock, a very large barge lock and a small skiff lock. The barge lock has an additional set of gates in the middle so it can operate in two sizes. The large bow shaped weir stretches across to Teddington from an island upstream of the lock which also acts as the centre point for the two bridges making up Teddington Lock Footbridge.
Construction of the first lock started in 1810 after the City of London Corporation obtained an Act of Parliament allowing them to build locks at Chertsey, Shepperton, Sunbury and Teddington. The lock was further upstream than the present lock complex at the point where the footbridge now crosses. It opened in June 1811 and the weir was completed by the end of that year. By 1827 the timber lock needed considerable repair and in 1829 the weir was destroyed by an accumulation of ice. It is noted that in 1843 the lock-keeper prevented a steam vessel from coming through the lock. At that time steam vessels were limited to travel as far as Richmond. A further problem arose in 1848 when old London Bridge was removed, leading to a drop of 2 ft 6 inches at the lower sill, and resulting in the occasional grounding of barges. It therefore became necessary to rebuild the lock and in June 1854 proposals included providing capacity for seagoing craft with a side lock for pleasure traffic. In June 1857 the first stone of the new lock was laid at the present position, being the central of the three locks, and it opened in 1858 together with the narrow skiff lock, (known as "the coffin"). The boat slide was added in 1869 and in the 1870s it is recorded that the weir collapsed twice causing enormous damage. The footbridges were opened in 1889 and finally the barge lock, the largest lock on the river, was built in 1904”“1905. In 1940 Teddington Lock was the assembly point for an enormous flotilla of small ships from the length of the River Thames to be used in the Evacuation of Dunkirk. Early twenty-first century renovation and improvement work in the area around the locks was undertaken as part of the Thames Landscape Strategy Teddington Gateway project.
Access to and across the lock
The lock is situated on the towpath on the Surrey side in Ham about a mile below Kingston-upon-Thames. It can normally only be reached on foot. The nearest road is Riverside Drive in Ham. Alternatively the lock can be reached from Ferry Road Teddington over the footbridges which cross the river here.
Reach above the lock
About half a mile above the lock is Trowlock Island close to the Middlesex bank, followed by Steven's Eyot in the centre of the river. There are then the bridges - Kingston Railway Bridge and Kingston Bridge. Raven's Ait is upstream of the bridges in the centre of the river which then curves sharply round to the right with Thames Ditton Island on the Surrey bank. Finally before Molesey Lock is Hampton Court Bridge. On the Middlesex side of the river going upstream, the bank is built up as far as Hampton Wick at Kingston Bridge, with Teddington Studios, Lensbury Club and Trowlock Island on the way. Above the bridge is Hampton Court Park, which stretches as far as Hampton Court Bridge. The Longford River, which feeds the water features at the Palace, runs out of gratings opposite Raven's Ait and below the Water Gallery. After Hampton Court Bridge it is built up again along the side of the weir stream On the Surrey side there is open space, including Canbury Gardens, until Kingston is reached. The Hogsmill joins the Thames above Kingston Bridge. The river side is then built up until it reaches the walls of the Seething Wells reservoirs and a marina just above Ravens Ait at Surbiton. Thames Ditton follows until beyond the end of Thames Ditton Island. There is a then patch of open space either side of the confluence of the River Mole, and River Ember which continues up to Hampton Court Bridge. Hampton Court railway station is behind the bridge and just above it is Molesey lock. There are navigation transit markers between Kingston Bridge and Raven's Ait on the Hampton Court bank, to allow river users to check their speed. A powered boat should not pass between the markers in less than one minute. The reach is home to at least five sailing clubs, five rowing clubs, two skiffing and punting clubs, the Royal Canoe Club and two Sea Cadet centres. In addition there is a heavy traffic of pleasure boats between Kingston and Hampton Court. The Thames Path follows the Surrey side to Kingston Bridge where it crosses to go alongside Hampton Court Park, before returning to the Surrey side at Hampton Court Bridge. The river makes a large loop on this reach and the two locks are half the distance apart by land.
Sports clubs on the reach
- Royal Canoe Club
- Kingston Rowing Club
- Walbrook Rowing Club
- Tiffin School Boat Club
- Kingston Grammar School Boat Club
- Kingston University Boat Club
- The Skiff Club
- Dittons Skiff and Punting Club
- Thames Sailing Club
- Tamesis Sailing Club
- Minima Yacht Club
- Kingston Royals Dragon Boat Racing Club
- 1st Surbiton (Sealion) Sea Scouts
- Ajax Sea Scouts
Literature and the media
The lock was the location of the Monty Python Fish-Slapping Dance sketch. In episode 1 of series 5 of New Tricks (BBC TV police drama), the villain is arrested at Teddington Lock. Thames Television had purpose-built studios at Teddington Lock.