So how much of the Thames is London's?
That of course raises an important question: what definition of London should be used? The Londonist has a fantastic video that discusses all sorts of alternatives, including post codes, the London boroughs, the M25, the 020 phone area code, the tube or maybe out to zone 6 of the tube and train network.
But these don't work for the Thames, as it doesn't have a phone or tube stations at either end of the London Thames.
One possible answer is the scope of the Port of London Authority (PLA), which according to Wikipedia is from the "obelisk just downstream of Teddington Lock (the upstream limit of the tidal river) to the end of the Kent/Essex strait of the North Sea (between Margate to the south and Gunfleet Lighthouse, near Frinton-on-Sea, to the north".
The trouble with that is the PLA, however important, is not London, and Margate most definitely is not part of London.
There is an older definition that works even in today's London, using the ancient London Stones (not to be confused with The London Stone). These were defined in times gone by as the limits of jurisdiction of the City of London. To quote Wikipedia:
In 1197 King Richard I, in need of money to finance his involvement in the Third Crusade, sold the rights over the lower reaches of the River Thames to the City of London. Marker stones were erected to indicate the limit of the City's rights
These are then:
- In the west, in Staines (which now would like to be known as Staines-upon-Thames but everyone just calls it Staines). Apparently, as recently as Victorian times, the Lord Mayor would come in procession by water and touch the stone (above) with a sword to re-affirm the City's rights
- In the east, the line in the Thames estuary connecting the Crow Stone at Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex and Yantlet Creek on the Isle of Grain in Kent
I'll come back to these London Stones in future blog posts, but until then its time for another quiz, in
the next post....