Punting From Sunbury/hampton Court into London in the 19Th Century – Possible?

A two part question this:

In circa 1890, if a man wished to punt up the River Thames from

Sunbury (or Hampton Court, which is near enough) into the heart of

London itself…

1. Was this practically feasible, given the existence of locks

(presumably) along the way?

2. If it was feasible, how long would it have approximately taken?

Many thanks if anyone can help…

Request for Question Clarification byscriptor-ga

Dear duffymp,

I already did some research, and I found out that in 1890, there were

only two locks between Hampton Court and the City of London: Molesey

Lock and Teddington Lock. Both were designed to let vessels pass. A

third lock even closer to London proper, Richmond Lock, was not opened

until 1894.

The question is: Would your hypothetical man have reasons not to pass

the locks with his punt? Technically, it's possible.


Request for Question Clarification byanswerfinder-ga

Dear duffymp-ga,

In addition to Scriptor?s comments, I have found evidence that someone

did punt almost as far as Putney, and punts were used in Richmond

during the late 19th century. However, a journey into the central

London would be not normally undertaken in a punt. Punts are designed

for smooth water where the bottom of the river can be reached with a

pole. Hence, most punting done on the Thames is on the non-tidal

section above Teddington Lock. The tidal Thames is too dangerous for

punts: strong tidal flow, deep water, and it can get very choppy when

the wind picks up. I?ve done it in a canoe, so I speak from


It is possible to choose a alternative method? Perhaps a rowing boat? Sculling?


Clarification of Question byduffymp-ga

Thank you for the notes to date. To clarify the queries raised:

1. There's no particular reason to avoid locks (I had assumed there

were enough to make the journey impracticable)

2. Yes, the journey could certainly be attempted by rowing boat or sculling

Request for Question Clarification byscriptor-ga

As for the time it would take, I have found the following:

"An eight-oared Shallop could cover the distance from Hampton Court to

Greenwich in approximately four hours."


Now, if we have a small boat rowed by only one person (who is not

trying to break a record), it will take longer. But the distance is

shorter, to the Tower or so only. I'd say, 6 to 7 hours is a realistic

time. Maybe longer, if there is waiting time at the two locks.

Would this information be what you are looking for?


Clarification of Question byduffymp-ga

Yes, this is indeed the kind of information I was seeking – many thanks!

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