infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Sunbury-on-Thames
latitude= 51.43
longitude= -0.43
population = 27,415 (2001)
shire_district= Spelthorne
shire_county= Surrey
region= South East England
postcode_district= TW16
postcode_area= TW
dial_code= 01932
os_grid_reference= TQ105695
constituency_westminster= Spelthorne

Sunbury-on-Thames (also known as Sunbury)is a London commuter belt town ["One of those pleasant villages lyingon the Thames, near Hampton Court, Rev. Gilbert White descibed it, in "The Natural History of Selborne", letter xii, 4 November 1767.] in the Surrey borough of Spelthorne in England. It is located 16 miles (25 km) southwest of central London and bordered by Feltham and Hampton, flanked on the south by the River Thames.


The earliest evidence of occupation in Sunbury is provided by the discovery of Bronze Age funerary urns dating from the 10th century BC. It is mentioned in the Sunbury Charter in AD 962. Many years later the arrival of Huguenot refugees gave the name to French Street.

Sunbury was in the Middlesex Domesday map in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Suneberie". Its Domesday assets were: 7 hides. It had 5 ploughs, meadow for 6 ploughs, cattle pasture. It rendered £6. [ [ Surrey Domesday Book] ]

The riverside St Mary's Anglican Church and the Ferry House nearby are mentioned in the book "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens. Other literary references include the difficulty of rowing up Sunbury backwater in "Three men in a boat" by Jerome K. Jerome, and Sunbury Cross under a pall of smoke during "The War of the Worlds" by H.G.Wells.

Sunbury was once the residence of Admiral Hawke who blockaded Rochefort in 1757 and in 1758 he directed the blockade of Brest for six months.

In 1889 a group of music hall stars met in the Magpie hotel in Lower Sunbury to form the Grand Order of Water Rats. The pub itself was named after the horse that one of the entertainers owned, whilst the Grand Order was named because the Magpie (a trotting pony) had been described as a drowned water rat. The Three Fishes in Green Street is one of the oldest pubs in Surrey, thought to date back to the 16th Century.

Sunbury-on-Thames was historically part of Middlesex, forming the Sunbury-on-Thames Urban District from 1894.Vision of Britain - [ Sunbury UD] ( [ historic map] )] In 1965, the majority of Middlesex was absorbed into Greater London. However, the Sunbury-on-Thames Urban District was instead transferred to Surrey. The Royal Mail did not adopt the change in 1965 and the postal county remained Middlesex; although postal counties are no longer officially in use.Royal Mail, "Address Management Guide", (2004)] In 1974 the urban district was abolished and it has since formed part of the borough of Spelthorne. [Arnold-Baker, C., "Local Government Act 1972", (1973)]

The town today

Geographically, Sunbury comprises two areas. The area adjacent to the river is commonly known as "Lower Sunbury", or Sunbury Village, and has a quaint, almost rural, atmosphere, while the area around and to the north of Sunbury Cross, where the M3 begins, is properly known as "Sunbury Common". It is more urban and is home to a number of large companies including Chubb and BP, as well as a mixture of national and local traders including a 1960s shopping centre and a large Tesco Extra superstore.Marking the western border of Sunbury is the Queen Mary Reservoir which was constructed in 1925. This is also home to a sailing club and is regularly used by local schools and youth organisations to teach water sports skills.Lower Sunbury has become increasingly popular with young first time buyers looking to start families. The mixture of Victorian terraces and 1930s semi detached houses in the leafy village offers a favourable and more affordable alternative to London. Lower Sunbury is usually defined as the area south of Sunbury Cross (Junction 1 on the M3). A conservation area within Sunbury village has been recognised to cover Thames Street and this reflects its historic buildings, many pubs, restaurants and a beautiful stretch of river bank leading up to the Church.

Sunbury is a largely suburban town with a number of high-rise office buildings and industrial estates clustered around the M3 and the A308 (Staines Road West) and A316 (Country Way) trunk roads. Sunbury was previously the home of BP's Engineering and Research Centre, located to the north of Sunbury on the site of Meadhurst House, formerly owned by the Cadbury family. The site is now Sunbury Business Park and is home to a large number of BP's business units. A number of other companies, including Chubb, also have a presence.

The Avenue, Sunbury, has been the home of the London Irish Rugby Club since 1932 although since 2001 its premiership team has played at the Madejski Stadium in Reading, Berkshire. However hundreds of minis, youngsters and adults turn out for the club each weekend in Sunbury during the rugby season. A few hundred metres to the east of Sunbury Cross is Kempton Park Racecourse.

Sunbury Court, in Lower Sunbury, is the home of the High Council of the Salvation Army.

Lower Sunbury is the home of the Sunbury Millennium Embroidery. [] The embroidery was conceived and designed in the 1990s and completed in 2000. Since July 2006 its permanent home is the purpose built Sunbury Millennium Embroidery Gallery, within the well-tended Walled Garden adjoining Sunbury Park. With the opening of a café within the gallery building, which architecturally resembles a boat, this has rapidly become a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, just across the road from a picturesque stretch of the Thames. The Walled Garden also hosts annual concerts and plays in the summer months.In July of each year, Lower Sunbury is the start of the colourful traditional ceremony of Swan Upping, where two livery companies carry out marking of the swans on the upper reaches of the River Thames. In August, the traditional Sunbury Amateur Regatta takes place on the stretch of the river around Rivermead Island.


The town has Three primary schools, Chennestone Primary School, St Ignatius RC Primary School and Spring Field primary school

econdary Schools

*St. Paul's Catholic College, Volunatary aided
*Sunbury Manor School, Community school specializing in specific learning difficulties
*The Bishop Wand Church of England Secondary School, Voluntary aided

Local leisure, and entertainment

*London Irish Rugby Club
*Sunbury Hockey Club
*Kempton Park Racecourse
*Kempton Park Steam Engines at the Kempton Park waterworks
*River Thames Boat Trips
*The Riverside Arts Centre.
*862 (Sunbury) Air Training Corps

Notable people

Joe Gormley - Trade Union leader,

Adam Faith - singer and actor,

Dickie Valentine - singer,

Admiral Edward 1st Baron Hawke,

Karl Green (bassist for Herman's Hermits),

Nick Thorpe (bassist for Curiosity Killed the Cat),

Ben Homewood (of "The Bill" fame),

Kerry Norton ("Bad Girls", actress and singer),
Diana Dors - actress,

Harlon Haveland (Actor),

Captain Joseph Reid (adventurer),

Mal Evans ( Beatles roadie),

David Nash - Middlesexcounty cricketer - (current),

Gordon Hill - Manchester United and England footballer.

Nearest places

*Ashford, Middlesex



*A316, becomes the start of the M3 motorway.
*A308, directions towards Staines and Kingston-upon-Thames.
*A244, directions towards Hounslow and Walton-on-Thames.


* Sunbury
* Kempton Park


*London Heathrow Airport is 5 miles away.

Emergency services

Sunbury is served by these emergency sevices:
*Surrey Police (it was within the boundary of the Metropolitan Police district until 2000.)
*South East Coast Ambulance Service as of 1 July 2006, formed from the former Surrey Ambulance Service, Sussex, and Kent Ambulance services.
*Surrey Fire & Rescue Service.


External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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