Ham Island is an inhabited man-made island of roughly 50 hectares (125 acres) in the River Thames in Old Windsor in England. It was a mature meander of the Thames until a channel was dug, the New Cut, to build Old Windsor Lock which reduced the navigable distance by two thirds.
The island contains 37 dwellings, a couple of which were abandoned during the 2014 flood.
The current island was a peninsula partly surrounded by a meander of the Thames until 1822 when the Thames Navigation Commissioners dug a channel of the river across the neck , the New Cut, to build Old Windsor Lock at its downstream end. At the upstream end a weir was constructed across the mainstream of the river, and at the downstream end of the cut the Old Windsor Lock also has a small weir. Accordingly the distance in navigation was cut to around one third.
The islands accommodates 37 privately owned dwellings. The original houses on the island, now almost entirely rebuilt in a more luxurious style, were quite modest - many were holiday homes. The island is also the site of a water treatment plant, well-screened from the homes, and the Blueacre Horse Rescue centre which had to be evacuated during the February 2014 flooding.
The island is referred to in Three Men in a Boat as, passing up through the lock at this point for the first time they note they can spy Windsor Castle in the distance. This trip is still facilitated with boat hire companies in riverside settlements such as Maidenhead, Windsor and Staines.
During the early months of 2014 the island was flooded, and many residents decided to leave their homes.
- The Ham Island Cookery Collection (Ed Noble,S) 1998 Old Windsor, H.I.R.A
- Buildings of Old Windsor Gilson, M Old Windsor, M.F. Gilson, 1995 ISBN 0-9536912-0-9
Thames Water's wastewater treatment works
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