River Thames is the second longest river in the United Kingdom. Even though it is a major landmark in London, it stretches 346 kilometers across the country. It continuously inspires many artists and played a crucial role in the history of the capital city of England.
The Thames is the longest river in England with a length of 346 km.
As for the United Kingdom, it comes second, after the River Severn.
It originates from Gloucestershire and flows into the North Sea.
It may be as old as 58 million years.
It is considered one of the cleanest rivers flowing through a city.
This is even more impressive considering that, in 1957, the River Thames was declared biologically dead.
It proves two-thirds of drinking water for Londoners.
Nowadays, it houses over 125 species of fish.
The most common are cod, salmon, trout, shad, and bass.
There is a possibility to spot porpoises and seals in its estuary.
Moreover, in 2006 a northern bottlenose whale was also spotted in the river.
There are over 200 bridges on the River Thames.
The two most spectacular are the Tower Bridge, and the London Millennium Footbridge.
The oldest bridge on the Thames–the Richmond Bridge–was built in 1777.
The longest of all 200+ bridges on the Thames is the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.
It was officially opened in 1991 by the late Queen Elizabeth II and spans 812 meters.
The River Thames is divided into tidal and non-tidal sections.
The non-tidal Thames stretches for 237 kilometers from its source to Teddington Lock, while the tidal Thames stretches for 109 kilometers to the North Sea.
In Oxford, the river goes by the name River Isis.
In the Middle Ages, it was thought that the ancient name of the river–Thamesis–was a combination of the words Thame and Isis.
From the 17th to 19th centuries, the Thames used to freeze in winter.
The citizens of London held Frost Fairs on the river’s surface.
The River Thames holds an annual Race for Doggett’s Coat & Badge, the world’s oldest boat race.
It was founded in 1725 by Thomas Doggett and has been run for over 300 years. It runs through the center of London for 7,400 meters.
There were two major floods on the River Thames.
The first documented flooding occurred in 1928 and claimed the lives of 14 people, and over 4,000 were left homeless. The second flooding occurred in 1953 and led to the construction of the Thames Barrier in the 1970s.
The Tames Barrier is the largest movable barrier in Europe.
The construction was officially finished in 1984. It is 520 meters wide.
There are over 80 islands on the Thames.
The Thames is associated with one of the biggest ecological disasters in England, called the Great Stink.
In 1858, due to abnormally high temperatures, reaching 35 degrees Celsius in the shade, and lack of rain, the level of the Thames dropped significantly, revealing piles of dirt accumulating in the river over the years. The stench was so intense that the Parliament stopped working for several months.
The Thames was mentioned in writing by Julius Caesar, a dictator of the Roman Empire, after his expedition to Britain in 54 B.C.
He claimed the river was difficult to cross.
The River Thames was a popular inspiration for various artists, including Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Kenneth Grahame.
The Thames Tunnel was the first underwater tunnel in the world.
It was constructed in 1843 and served as a passage for horse-drawn carriages. Nowadays is a part of the London Overground.