Brentford Ait

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Brentford Ait seen from Kew Bridge

Brentford Ait is a long 4.572-acre (1.9 ha) uninhabited ait (river island) in the River Thames, with no buildings, on the Tideway near Brentford in London, England.

Ownership and size[edit]

It is administered by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and Port of London Authority. Its west part was last accurately measured as 1.956 acres (0.8 ha); its east 2.616 acres (1.1 ha) being longer and the same width.[1] Brentford Ait has a gap in the middle known as Hog Hole which is apparent at lower tides, dividing the ait into "upper" and "lower" sections.[2]

Map of Brentford and Lot's Aits

Brentford Ait was also formerly known as Makenshaw, Mattenshaw or Twigg Ait.[3] In the 18th century the ait was inhabited and buildings included a notorious pub called the Swan or Three Swans — its trade was ended in 1796.[3] On the Brentford bank, the Swan Steps lead down to the river at the east end of the long and narrow riverside park, Waterman's Park, at the site of the crossing to this pub. The ait was planted with trees in the 1920s to screen Brentford's gasworks from the view of Kew Gardens. The ait is covered by willows and alder and is a bird sanctuary with a significant heronry. For historic reasons unknown the parish of Kew in Surrey[4] included Brentford in its history; the London Borough of Hounslow administers the neighbouring Lot's Island separated by thick, shifting mud at low tide from Brentford whereas channels on both sides of this Ait are dredged.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ OS 25-inch map of 1910 Ordnance Survey London sheet LXXXIV revised 1891-94, published 1897.
  2. ^ Brentford Quay to Kew Bridge: PLA 306 (PDF) (Map). Port of London Authority. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Site of the Three Swans". Panorama of the Thames. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  4. ^ Diane K Bolton; Patricia E C Croot; M A Hicks (1982). T F T Baker; C R Elrington, eds. "Ealing and Brentford: Introduction". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  5. ^ Ordnance Survey map, courtesy of English Heritage Archived 24 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.


Next island upstream River Thames Next island downstream
Lot's Ait Brentford Ait Oliver's Island

Coordinates: 51°29′11″N 0°17′39″W / 51.4863°N 0.2941°W / 51.4863; -0.2941