Benn's Island, previously named Church Eyot, Kember’s Eyot and sometimes referred to as Benn's Ait,[n 1] is a private and very small ait (island) close to the Middlesex bank of the River Thames at Hampton, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in England, on the reach above Molesey Lock. The water between the island and the Middlesex bank is shallow, but navigable with care to small vessels.
In the 19th century the island was used by the then Thames Valley Sailing Club, currently based on Sunbury Lock Ait, whose then headquarters were a houseboat moored at Benn's Island and which was destroyed by fire in 1900. Since 1945 it has been leased by Hampton Sailing Club. During 1962 the clubhouse was built on the piles at Benn’s Island. Extensive building works and piling make any casual observer believe that the island is wholly artificial, but these are substantial extensions.
The clubhouse is linked to Benn's Alley, a narrow slipway on the northern bank by a manually operated pedestrian chain ferry at the downstream end. Hampton Ferry connecting to Molesey operates to the east of the island using a separate set of steps or slipway and directly facing to St Mary's Church.
Notes and references
- This was called Church Eyot, then Kember’s Eyot around 1700, but now named after the family that owned Benn’s Boatyard on the Middlesex bank, which was demolished in 1947.
- "Benn's Ait". Retrieved 2009-12-10.
- Jackson, W F. "Boat Sailing on the Upper Thames" (pdf). Retrieved 2008-12-10. "Next comes " The Thames Valley Sailing. Club," at Hampton-on-Thames, with a course, ten rounds of which make up four miles, from a buoy opposite the little Club Island"
- "Hampton Sailing Club". Retrieved 2008-12-09.
- Ordnance Survey map, courtesy of English Heritage
|Next island upstream||River Thames||Next island downstream|
|Platts Eyot||Benn's Island||Garrick's Ait|