view counter

Ravens Ait

11 years ago...

Hearing that Ravens Ait has gone into administration with immediate effect.
Does anyone have any further info as many bookings made for Xmas and weddings etc.


I used to work on the island when it was still a wedding and conference venue and I was HORRIFIED to find out what has happened subsequent to my leaving. I had the privilege of calling the Ait "Home" for about a year and was responsible for a lot of the maintenance (waterproofing the cieling, fixing the fences, painting and varnishing Corvus). It was a place of peace and a unique place for people to celebrate their most important days of their lives. It was a place that was as much a part of the staff as the staff were of it, and it is still a part of us. It would be a shame to see it's uniqueness and all-over specialness go to waste in the hands of a money hungry tyrant or a bunch of self centered people who "claim" they are doing something for the greater good, when they are doing nothing more than making an absolute nuisance of themselves trying to take something that does not belong to them. It is up to Whomever it does belong to, to do with it whatever he/she wants and we have to have the faith that it will be the RIGHT thing. I think a hotel, or pub/restaurant would be the answer as it is beneficial to the community and will still keep the uniqueness of the venue and also allow the sea scouts to use the island as they have been for years. And as far as carbon footprints are concerned.. the more cr@p that is being spoken and the less that is being done makes for a nice big one!!

I too used to work at this fantastic wedding and conference venue. I was completly unaware of the troubles that were happening and itr is such a shame that this Island has changed.

Ravens Ait was a great place to work and I stayed over night on many occasions following a long evening. I hope all the people that worked there especially during my period had an enjoyable time too.

Roy G

The people that own it are the council and they want to sell the "community land" to private developers but no-one is going to buy it because the risk of flood is too great therefore the insurance too high. When the squatters moved on they took pictures of the state of the place and it looked horrific. It had been left empty for months and now the squatters have been evicted it has been left to rot again. The last company upped and left with thousands of pounds of public and privately owned monies including £2,000 of Police money for their annual ball. The squatters were at least trying to turn it into a community centre for all to make use of and enjoy.

I thought the Hotel Antoinette group had won the lease for the island??



Following discussions about the terms of the offers, and other possible uses for the island it was RESOLVED that

1. Ravens Ait, be leased with vacant possession, to Antoinette Hotels, on the basis set out in Annex 1 of Appendix G set out in the exempt section of the agenda, subject to the Borough Valuer being authorised, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, to amend the length of the lease, if deemed appropriate, following discussion with Antoinette Hotels; and

2. officers be authorised to complete the matter as soon as possible.

Reason for decision
To enable the property to be brought back into use and secure an income for the Council whilst retaining control, as landlord, over how the property is used.

I used to work on the Island for 5 years and was forced to resign from it, believe me a shock to us all,,, BY NOW WE ALL KNOW THE REASONS, as a non UK citizen, we are back home, first we miss the UK, so much ,all of it, all the people, and then Raven's Ait , what a place

This was the place that I made friends for a life time ,from temp staff all over Europe,and the world,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, then the weddings, functions and conferences, all the people that got married on the Island IT WAS A PLEASURE SERVING you,,,,,,,,

Best memories ever



a previous staff member that cared and gave it all

Mr T

Did I see a poster for the "Ait" Eco Guardian Council stuck up in a window of an empty(awaiting development)house on the corner of Park and Surb Hill Park?

Perhaps our old favourite Sapphire8 could enlighten us?

Not awaiting development just yet.

They still haven't got planning permission to knock that fine house down yet.
They're trying to get two houses on the site, but vehicle access for two houses is downright dangerous because the entrance would be right onto the curved junction which is heavily used by buses etc.

Any more entrances there would make an already dangerous junction even more difficult to cross safely.

Not to mention building yet more housing when they haven't got close to providing any more school places yet.

Sauntered past on Saturday and seems the eco warriors have been cleared.

It would certainly be very dangerous to have two houses if they have two exits onto Park road as the turn from Surb Hill Park is almost blind,mind you it may allow the council to create some sort of mega hump on the bend to cause maximum congestion and danger to all.

Did I see a poster for the "Ait" Eco Guardian Council stuck up in a window of an empty(awaiting development)house on the corner of Park and Surb Hill Park?

Perhaps our old favourite Sapphire8 could enlighten us?

If it was 34 Park Road, then probably yes. It is their new base, though doubtless a bit empty as they are all down in Glastonbury.

I just remembered that somebody formally reported that building to the council as being unoccupied, trying to get it back into use about 6 months ago.

Does anybody know what the council have done about it?

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the contributors to the Raven's Ait threads, positive & negative, for making this issue the most talked about event to happen in Surbiton for along time. Some people have completely missed the point of this direct action which has been taken in protest at the local councils intention to sell off this public land to a private consortium in an under the table deal that was done in principle, behind closed doors and out of the public eye. Some interested parties have no regard for the facts of this case and are clearly only interested in lining their own pockets and abusing their percieved power.
As a result of their biggotry and greed, this is now a matter of national interest.
Well done to everyone involved, especially Richard.
We could not have done this without you.

Lets just hope that unpopular but handsome devil who inherited TURKS, doesn't grease too many palms and get his grubby little hands on it.
All the Foxes moved here from the countryside to get away from his type.

It's OK Russell, we will be watching developments....
It has been good chatting with you and hopefully the Foxes will be back, although the Hounds will be around for sometime. If I did drink I might have come in to meet you, but I wish you the best.

Thank you for your support Leslie.
It has been good working with you and your associates.
The entire commitee looks forward to meeting you all personally.
It is a shame about the massive cost of this one man crusade to steal Raven's Ait from the Greater London Community.
What Richard Turk wants, Richard Turk gets.
Maybe he should foot the bill and think about returning the Life Bouy and other items that he stole months ago from Raven's Ait when he helped the previous failed tenants Keith and Carol Wharthog move off his Island.
Yes that's right, we have known about this from day one.
P.S. if he his man enough he might also consider apologising to Revolving Nicks 2 young daughters, Roxy and Lola and to their mother for leaving them stranded on an island when he got Nick arrested over allegedly abstacting electricity (NO PROOF OF DISHONESTY) and to the courts and magistrates for wasting police time and public money.
All the Best, Man.

People don't always get want they want.
I strongly advise you to speak with Kerry Grove on the Surrey Comet about some of the other matters you raised above. I cannot comment, as I don't know the facts. I know about the court case and agreed that if someone gave the meter reading and payment details you could hardly accuse them of stealing. But, I've never heard of this other incident when he was arrested. This needs proper investigation by others.

The Source of the Thames Squatters

Source: BBC NEWS

Source: House of Lords (Hansard)

Chartered Institute Environmental Health


Lord Orr-Ewing
My Lords, is my noble friend aware that there is very wide interest in this playing field and others which are near our big cities, especially those near London? Further, as questions have been asked in both Houses from all quarters in support of some manner in which this open space could be held for recreation and for sports, would it not be wise to take up the suggestion made by the London Playing Fields Society in a letter to the Department of the Environment that ILEA playing fields, if not others, might be listed immediately under the auspices of the Government while the matter is sorted out? Is my noble friend further aware that it would be a shame if we did not reserve these spaces in highly built up areas or on the fringe of London for future generations? In that way we could get our young people off the streets and on to playing fields undertaking organised sports.

§ Viscount Davidson
My Lords, we still expect that the playing fields will not go out of use as a result of the abolition of ILEA. However, the authority has declared a number of playing fields, nearly all located outside inner London, surplus to educational requirements. In the case of Raynes Park, all the inner London boroughs have agreed with the assessment.

§ Lord Boyd-Carpenter
My Lords, can my noble friend explain why it is that the forthcoming dissolution of ILEA should suddenly make these playing fields surplus to requirements when they have been needed over the past few years?

§ Viscount Davidson
My Lords, it is because such fields will now come under the control of borough councils and those councils will have different plans. That means that playing fields in the future will probably be nearer to those who use them.

§ Lord Renton
My Lords, bearing in mind that we have a green belt policy which surrounds London with open fields—or at least to a great extent—are we really to abandon the open spaces in London itself as easily as this?

§ Viscount Davidson
My Lords, we expect that playing fields will not go out of use. On the basis of borough bids for sports facilities, including those declared surplus by ILEA, it seems likely that more property will be brought into sports use as a result of its abolition.

Lord Pesten
My Lords, following yesterday's disaster on the playing fields of Headingley, will the Government take seriously the need to keep playing fields in existence as playing fields? Am I not right that, given the new Education Reform Act, the Secretary of State cannot prevent the London boroughs getting rid of playing fields? Following 1422 that, and in the hope that the noble Viscount has some good news, can he tell us whether the water sports facilities at Raven's Ait, which is an example of what I have in mind, will be preserved?

§ Viscount Davidson
My Lords, I am not sure whether that comes under the heading of "cricket" or "rowing". The water sports centre at Raven's Ait to which I think the noble Lord is referring will no longer be used by ILEA and it applied to my right honourable friend for consent to dispose of it. It was given consent and has sold it to the Royal Borough of Kingston, which I understand is committed to retaining the site for educational and recreational use.

§ Baroness David
My Lords, is not the reason for ILEA having some surplus playing fields that the number of children in London has substantially declined? Is it not also because it has only £11 million for the maintenance of buildings, and it desperately needs the cash, of which the Secretary of State has kept it so short?

§ Viscount Davidson
My Lords, I believe that we are making a generality out of an individual case. I do not see many other playing fields going the same way as Raynes Park. ILEA owns some half-a-dozen large sports centres outside inner Landon. It has taken a number of them out of use because of the time taken to ferry pupils to them and has provided alternative facilities closer to the schools. ILEA has sought to find ways to keep such centres in recreational use and is in discussion with the outer London boroughs and sports bodies to that end. I hope therefore that few fields will need to be sold on the open market.

§ Lord Orr-Ewing
My Lords, will my noble friend consider listing Raynes Park, as we seem to have got into a muddle and are legislatively inhibited from taking action? Why not put a single-clause Bill through Parliament? He would have the support of all sides of both Houses. It would not take long and it would not slow up the Government's machine. It would be a simple answer. Future generations might benefit a great deal and thank us for so doing.

§ Viscount Davidson
My Lords, that is an interesting suggestion which I shall of course pass on to my right honourable friend.

I have to say I'm disappointed.
They'd put a huge amount of effort and time and money (of late) into the place. It was a family run business and I for one regret their demise. When you live and work and your whole life is centered around the business it must be heart-breaking for the whole thing to fail.
They were a really lovely crowd to work with (I'm a photographer).
Like you say, maybe re-structuring the business to see one side of the island converted into a gastro pub / restaurant might well work.
I wish Theo and extended family the very best in the future.
Tim (based in Bushey, Herts)

anyone checked:

Hello people, I found this article response in a local online newspaper dated 17 months ago, it reads,


3:33pm Tuesday 9th October 2007

SIR. I am very concerned to learn that the Lib Dems wish to sell-off land within the borough, such as Ravens Ait Island. I do not recall reading in any of their newsletters or in their manifesto that they wish to sell land.

Where do the Lib Dem councillors get the right to sell of land without any view or say from the local residents?

If the sales go ahead where will this money go? Because up until now all the Lib Dems have done is waste our money and cut services.

Turn your laptop off SAPPHIRE8, you're leaving a 'carbon footprint' on the AIT, the size, unwillingly created by a ‘four legged’ friend, glutening on a tin of baked beans smothered with a dollop of Levis Roots ‘Reggie Reggie sauce' .. and that's not pleasant!

I live really close to Raven's Ait and I am shocked that it's been taken over by squatters. Please people, do not be fooled by their 'eco-centre' nonsense. These are not environmentalists, these are criminals using environmentalism as a banner so that we are fooled into supporting their squatting. They will already be costing us a fortune as the council has to try evict them by using the courts. They've appeared in the papers bragging about how they can make court cases last 13 months. I don't know about you but council tax is high enough without having to pay more due to these scumbags.

If they are such wonderful environmentalists and are capable of running an educational centre, why have they been kicked out of every other squat they've taken over in London in recent years. They are con men & criminals and the law which protects them (while they're effectively sat in the house they've broken into - burglary anyone? ). The law is clearly a shambles.

But most importantly, they are not locals. It is us, the locals, who should be deciding or at least have a say in what becomes of the ait, not these opportunistic, criminal, unwashed, heathen squatters.

All I ask is that you see through their bullsh*t 'environmentalist' banner. Because environmentalists they are not!

That anonymous comment is legally speaking libellous, and ought to be removed. However there is such a thing as free speech. The anonyminty of the poster speaks of cowardice rather than any moral courage.

The 'squatters' on Ravens Ait have forced the council to consider negotiating a hand over of Ravens Ait to 20 local community action groups.

These people have been involved in this kind of work for many years, and do this work, unfunded, because they care. Now they have managed to create a situation whereby a local amenity is being given to the people of the area to promote better understanding of the issues facing us all, and facing our children.

Rather than being sold for cash that will vanish to a developer who will make a profit.

It's a no-brainer, really!

These squatters are freeloaders who would like to stay there for free.

They cannot steal and live in property that is not theirs, and have been evicted

lets see them try again!



As you seem to be the rep for the evicted illegal squatters online, can you explain this comment?
Do they plan to try and get back on the island?
As it is now occupied by 24 hour security, that would be trespass.
I think that is illegal also, and the police would have to get involved again........
Why waste time?

Why do you shout at me so?
Glad i didn't take you up on the offer to meet face to face, i might have got tinnitus from all the shouting ;-)
Or your comrades might have found out where i live, and squatted there ;-)

Apparently it transpires that this is not actually classed as "TRESPASS"

Get a life mate

There has already been an open debate and public meeting on all of the issues mentioned so far plus a multitude of more pressing concerns. This has been followed up by further public meetings and regular public discussions have been and continue to be held on the Island itself, all comers are welcome.
The first of these Public meetings took place about 3 weeks ago and was held at the Clatton Lecture Theatre Kingston University on Penhryn Road. Invites were sent out to all local councillors, MPs, the Mayor, various local groups, the press and the wider general public. Even with the realitively short notice and this meeting been held at 7pm on a Friday evening when most people have gone home after a hard weeks work, the turnout more than doubled that of the local neighbourhood meeting,held by our elected representatives at the Hawker Centre the previous week, when 20 plus councillors and not one member of the public showed up, as the councillors had only advertised this public meeting on the councils internal website.
This has all been done with the utmost openess and actively encourages FREE SPEECH and FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.

And presumably you also expect a FREE LUNCH, FREE ACCOMMODATION and general FREELOADING?

Blah Blah

I wholly support the project to turn Ravens Ait into an educational community centre. It is the ideal venue for a venture of this nature and we have to realise that these sorts of establishments are what is needed MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE for the benefit our empowering our people and creating a more sustainable future for everybody.

If you know something should be done - then just do it. We all know what is right and wrong - so lets put our heads together and get on with fixing the mess that we're in. I admire these guys - not only do they have vision, drive and loads of love to give, they also have no fear. They are courageous leaders, and we should support them in every way we can. Let go of your fear (your imagination), go and visit them and be inspired.. you won't be disappointed - in fact you'll probably fall in love.

If you believe they are just liars, criminals and scumbags, I'd say the same thing about the people that currently control our every action and enslave us with their unjust economic and legal systems. The squatters at Ravens Ait have made a conscious decision to stay in this country and BE THE CHANGE THEY WANT TO SEE, not just run a mile (like many people that can see things for what they really are already have done). These guys are doing what is NEEDED for ALL!

If you go to visit them and hear what they have to say, I'm sure your opinion will change dramatically. They are people with a concern for all life, including your own.... They are trying to provide a much needed service to our society and if necessary, through drastic action. We can't just wait for our corrupted centralised governments to sort out the problems we have in our world (after all they create most of them) - we need to take it upon ourselves to make the right choices and act upon them, not be swayed by propoganda or out-dated legal rhetoric.

These are extremely generous people who give so much yet take so little - does that surprise you? This is planned to be a centre open to everybody, not just the people that can afford it - is that not selfless action? The squatters hold the solutions to our problems, they are also extremely hard-working and compassionate individuals. Never be afraid to find these things out for yourself. Fear keeps us separated and right now the division both between us and nature; and that of ourselves, is causing everything a great deal of stress. This is the main reason we NEED more centres like this to unite us. Stress is not healthy and together we CAN create a harmonious world - we just need to stop being fooled by people that have been fooled- and get our priorities in order.

Priority number 1 - Get together and talk as adults. (So we need community centres/venues).

The opinion that you have about these squatters is not the truth, simply your imagination as I suppose you have never met them. Go and meet them and you will see what I mean - you'll feel a lot better about the whole thing.

Love, light and don't forget the laughter.. :)
Blue Eagle

blah blah..............

Hello Local Person.

Hopefully by now you have accepted the invitation to visit YOUR island on the thames and have a change of heart and then indeed words.

If not please come and visit your island and help us stop the Council from selling this piece of Public land to a private investor.

My number is 07791 042 078 if you have any questions.

Love and Light


Richard, this number doesn't work and i would love to speak with you.....have you a new number, or are you too busy looking for new accommodation at the moment?


[quote=Richard Maggs]If not please come and visit your island and help us stop the Council from selling this piece of Public land to a private investor. My number is 07791 042 078 if you have any questions. Love and Light Richard[/quote]

Good grief, I’m actually feeling respect for this guy (these dudes)

“love and Light”

Nah ..

“We are the mods, we are the mods, we are, we are, we are the mods”

How wrong can you be?
Lets just hope that unpopular twit who inherited TURKS, doesn't grease too many palms and get his grubby little hands on it. This area does not need anymore bigotted fools, all the Foxes moved here from the countryside to get away from them.

Unpopular with whom SAPPHIRE8?

Where do I start?
I can in reality only speak for myself, although having attended several Pulic Meetings on Various Local Issues, I must say that I am not alone in my opinion. Have you read some of this guys comments in the Local Papers? He and or his cronies have almost certainly offended a wide range of communities such as the "River Gypsies" and "Travellers", Local Market Workers and Families, plus I would imagine, most of the Wet Lefty Liberals that live in the Borough, along with the Anti-Hunt Brigade.
I would think that the Metropolitian Police Force (whom we contribute part of our council tax towards) are also getting a bit tired of his one man crusade against the Dirty, Unwashed, Dole Grabbing, Lazy do Good Squatters, as this is a Civil Matter and not a Criminal Matter.
The list could probably go on and on but like I first stated, I can in reality only speak for myself.
I expect I will be hearing from this persons lawyers soon, bring it on, but I am only answering to your question out of politeness Polly.
As some good friends of mine used to say,

Kind of you SAPPHIRE8 but only answering out politeness sounds a little patronising,but I am sure you did not mean to be.

He's a bit of a Tory then or is he really right wing?

Is the Pope a Catholic? and something about Bears doing their business in the Woods. In his own words, "Very Conservative". I myself hold issues regarding conservation very highly on my agenda and I do not believe that people should be judged solely on their political views, I do however agree with Dr. Martin Luther King when he said that people should be judged on the "Content Of Their Character."

Well, well.
I've been coming to Surbiton for almost 12 month's now. I think its the most charming place (apart from fight night at the Flyer). I've also seen weddings up to around end of summer too. One day me and my girlfriend sat and listened to a female singer crooning away over the water. I think somebody who actually knows something should comment here and stop all the petty bickering's that most of you lot seem to be posting. Was the subject matter about if the place is still open or is it all about putting across political views? Immigrants? Youth hostel? What are you people on?? Come and stay with me for a couple of days in Rochdale or Oldham! That'll sort you lot out!!


We delivered wedding cakes regularly to Ravens Ait, and it's a real shame that it closed down. The staff there were always top notch, from ferry driver to the boss.
Ideally the island would make a fantastic weekday evening restaurant, with sole use for weddings over the weekend.
I don't think it would make a very good pub though, as I could see too many drunken wallys floating out to sea !
Lets hope it re-opens soon in a similar light.

Good post. In reality, I think most people realise just how lucky they are to live in a place like Surbiton - I certainly do.

To a certain extent, websites like this exist for people to air their grievances and gain others views on them. There have been a few threads celebrating what is good about living in Surbiton, but it is not in most people's nature to spend too much time commenting on the positives!

The original subject of the thread was to inform of the closure of Ravens Ait. The reference to the YMCA is a long running discussion on here about the troublesome residents of the hostel at the end of Victoria Road. This is a genuine problem that faces Surbiton, but has subsided over the winter.

Many posts are by locals who really love the area and wish to preserve it and prevent too many incomers from realising just how good it is,hence very many negative posts

Hi there,

I've written a piece about this for this week's Surrey Comet (out tomorrow!) and all the signs are pointing to it going into administration - they've sent an email out saying all future correspondence should go through an Accountants in Egham who have been very cagey about it all.

I'm keen to do a follow up about it for next week's paper - does anyone know anyone who has booked something there for the coming months or who has lost a deposit? Or any former staff who have been left in the lurch?

If you could email me at or call 020 8330 9550 I'd be really grateful.


Kerry Grove

I hadn't heard about this. I am not really surprised, though, as it is a criminal waste of a fantastic location. It doesn't appear to have been updated since the 1970s.

I hope customers do not lose too much money on this.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

By posting content on, you agree to adhere to the following guidelines.

  • Your username and password must only be used by you, keep them safe. If a posting is made using your username and password it will be considered to have been posted by you. If you have a friend who wants to use our site and post messages on the site, show them how to register.
  • Be courteous at all times, inciting racial hatred, posting abusive, obscene, threatening, harassing, defamatory, libellous or sexually explicit material or any material that is found to be offensive is not acceptable and we may suspend your username and password.
  • Retaliating to offensive posts causes more problems for other users on the discussion boards. Just report such messages to us using the Feedback link which is available at the top of every page or the 'report this' link associated with individual postings. We will act on every report we receive.
  • Please respect other people's work and do not post material that infringes copyright.
  • Do not post information that you know to be confidential or sensitive or otherwise in breach of the law. You should only post material that you know to be public knowledge. If you have any doubts do not post it on the site.
  • Never attempt to gain unauthorised access to any area of the site. This is known as hacking and is illegal.
  • Content posted represents the opinions of the author, and does not represent the opinions of or its affiliates and has not been approved or issued by You should be aware that the other participants are strangers to you and may make statements which may be misleading, deceptive or wrong.
  • Spoofing or posing as another user is unacceptable. Anonymous users' postings should always be considered with suspicion.
  • Help keep a safe place for information and opinion. Please alert us of any anti-social behaviour as described above.
Please note that does not monitor the comments posted and we are therefore reliant upon users reporting antisocial behaviour.