Eel Pie Island: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°26′43″N 0°19′29″W / 51.4452°N 0.3246°W / 51.4452; -0.3246

Eel Pie Island
Eel Pie Island is located in Greater London
Eel Pie Island

 Eel Pie Island shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ164731
London borough Richmond
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district TW1
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Twickenham
London Assembly South West
List of places: UK • England • London

Eel Pie Island is an island in the River Thames in England at Twickenham, in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames, London. It is situated on the Tideway and can be reached only by footbridge or boat. The island was known as a major jazz and blues venue in the 1960s.

Eel Pie Island was earlier called Twickenham Ait and, before that, The Parish Ait; even earlier the island was three separate aits. A bridge to the island was proposed in 1889, but it was not until 1957 that one was completed. Today, the island has about 50 houses with 120 inhabitants and some small businesses. It has nature reserves at either end, but there is no public access to these. The island is privately owned and the public can only access the main pathway from the bridge, to all the doors and gates of the houses and businesses on the island. On a few weekends a year the public can go into the collection of art studios, known as Eel Pie Island Art Studios. The Island is also home to Twickenham Rowing Club, one of the oldest rowing clubs on the Thames, and Richmond Yacht Club.

The Eel Pie Studios, on the mainland nearby, owned by Pete Townshend, were the location of several significant pop and rock recordings. Townshend's publishing company, Eel Pie Publishing, is named after the ait.


Eel Pie Island Hotel

The island was the site of the now legendary Eel Pie Hotel which was a genteel 19th century building that hosted ballroom dancing during the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1950s, Arthur Chisnall[1] reopened the hotel's adjoining dance hall as a venue for jazz bands and in the 1960s, for rock and R&B groups.[2][3]

Famous names who performed at the dance hall between 1957 and 1967 include:

In 1967, the Eel Pie Island Hotel was forced to close because the owner could not meet the £200,000 cost of repairs demanded by police. In 1969, the Club briefly reopened as Colonel Barefoot's Rock Garden, with bands like Black Sabbath, The Edgar Broughton Band, Stray, and Hawkwind (then known as Hawkwind Zoo).

Eel Pie Island Commune

In 1969, the Eel Pie Island Hotel was occupied by a small group of local anarchists including illustrator Clifford Harper. By 1970 it had become the UK's largest hippie commune.[4]

In 1971, the Eel Pie Island Hotel burned down in a mysterious fire. The centre of the island was devastated by fire in 1996, and a year later, the footbridge was damaged by a utilities contractor. A new footbridge opened in August 1998.

The "Battle" of Eel Pie Island

For his 2005 television show How To Start Your Own Country, presenter Danny Wallace claimed to be "Leader" of Eel Pie Island after invading the island via the footbridge. After a few hours, the Metropolitan police forced him to peacefully give the island back to HM Queen Elizabeth II.[5]

Image gallery

Despite its small size, Eel Pie Island has a wide variety of building styles.

Notable residents

Use in literature

Eel Pie Island was also the setting of a murder mystery written by David Frome (Zenith Brown) in 1932. It was part of the Mr. Pinkerton Series, featuring amateur sleuth, Evan Pinkerton, a widower Welshman, and his friend, Chief Inspector J. Humphrey Bull of Scotland Yard.

See also


  1. ^ "Arthur Chisnall: Eel Pie Island Promoter". Surrey Comet (2007-01-10). Retrieved 2009-12-07.  
  2. ^ Meek, Jo (2007-01-30). "Eel Pie's place in rock history". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-01-05.  
  3. ^ Van Der Vat, Dan; Whitby, Michele (2009). Eel Pie Island. Frances Lincoln Ltd. ISBN 0711230536.  
  4. ^ Faiers, Chris (1990). Eel Pie Dharma. Unfinished Monument Press. ISBN 0920976425.  
  5. ^ Ian Wylie (2005-07-25). "Dictator Danny!". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2008-09-25.  

External links

Next island upstream River Thames Next island downstream
Swan Island Eel Pie Island Glover's Island


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address