Ordnance Survey Maps (River Thames Source).

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Health. – in the House of Commons on 25th February 1937.

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Photo of Sir Robert Perkins Sir Robert Perkins , Stroud

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that, on the most recent edition of the Ordnance Survey maps, the source of the River Thames is shown as Thames Head, in the parish of Coates; and, in view of the fact that the source known as Seven Springs, in the parish of Coberley, is further from the estuary, he will undertake that in the next edition of the Ordnance Survey Maps the correct source will be marked?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I understand that it is not an invariable rule in geographical practice to regard as the source of a large river the source of the tributary most distant from its estuary. I am advised that the source of the Thames or Isis is the spring known as "Thames Head," and that the leading authorities agree that the name of the stream which rises at Seven Springs is the "Churn." In these circumstances it does not appear that the alteration suggested would be justified.

Photo of Sir Robert Perkins Sir Robert Perkins , Stroud

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the source known as Thames Head periodically dries up as in 1935, and is he also aware that the source known as Seven Springs is twice as high above sea level as the source known as Thames Head, as well as being farther from the estuary?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I am aware of these considerations, but they do not alter my view, as confirmed, that the River Thames rises in my constituency and not in that of my hon. Friend.

Photo of Viscount  Apsley Viscount Apsley , Bristol Central

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is true that the river which rises in my hon. Friend's constituency has always been called Churn since the days of the Ancient Britons, and that the river in my right hon. Friend's constituency has only recently been called Thames, and that probably the real Thames is the stream known as Will-brook, which rises in the constituency of the hon. and gallant Member for Chippenham (Captain Cazalet)?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I think there is no doubt that the Thames rises in the parish of Coates.