Strand-on-the-Green is a picturesque stretch along the foreshore between Kew Bridge and Grove Park Road in what is now considered part of Chiswick. This area has an interesting history as it has had various industries such as brew houses as well as a laundry next to where Café Rouge is now. There have also been reports of human skeletal remains having been found in the 19th century. I was at Strand-on-the-Green for just the weekend but I gather from those who were there for the entire week, that in spite of some atrocious weather the week was a success. One of the highlights was the opportunity to explore Oliver’s Ait for those of you who don’t know, this is the little island in the middle of the Thames between Strand-on-the-Green and Kew.

There are lots of rumours about what the island has been used for in the past. The most famous is that Oliver Cromwell used it as a place of refuge during the English Civil War, hence the name Oliver’s Ait (meaning island in Old English). Although Oliver Cromwell’s daughter Mary lived and died in Chiswick, it seems more likely that it has been mostly used to moor barges for the collection of tolls, as the location of a smithy and most recently a place for camping and possibly living. FROG member Roxane Burke pointed out barge mooring rings and also explained that the island has electricity, solar panels and evidence of campfires as well as old building foundations, probably the remains of a toll house. The FROG members also found a large boundary marker which is believed to be a marker between Surrey and Middlesex.


Image by Nathalie Cohen

FROG member Yvonne Masson explained that the week was spent first cleaning known features after which photos were taken and then on the third day planning commenced. After that the weekend was spent mostly recording the river wall and some new features such as the pontoon structure (fish house?) near the foot of one of the stairways leading down to the foreshore. A few of us ended the weekend at the City Barge pub and I can confidently say a good time was had by all…