Things Ait what they used to be

Ravens Ait taken over by environmental campaigners and artists.

Last weekend firefighters were warned up to 400 people could turn up to an illegal rave there, but few signs of activity could be seen.

Boats moored up next to the island including a houseboat and smaller boat with a Jolly Roger skull and crossbones flag. Another rainbow flag was flying from above the building.

One woman shouting across the river from the island and said, "It wasn't a party. It wasn't a rave. It was a cinema night and it went very well thank you."

Officially the site now belongs to insolvency firm Wilkins Kennedy, after the previous owners went into administration, and any money from a future sale would be owed to the debtors.


Squatters who have taken over Raven’s Ait island with the dream of taking it into a “eco conference centre” face eviction by the council at a court hearing next week.

They are desperate to transform the former wedding and conference centre into a “Green University”, complete with lectures, film screenings and permaculture garden, after moving in illegally three weeks ago.

But the council, which owns the island, is adamant that it will either sell it off or lease it out to a more regular company, who would be likely to keep it as a entertainment venue. They said their presence is likely to deter any future business interest and it intends to regain possession of the property as soon after next week’s court hearing as possible.

Several of the squatters are part of the Circle Community, which has occupied buildings elsewhere in the capital, including Spike Community Centre in Peckham most recently.

Squatter Peter Phoenix, 38, insisted the group is treating the place respectfully and paying for its own electricity through a £1,000 grant from an environmental group.


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.

Still no replies to the questions asked by other users?

Would that be because the cops took your laptop when the squatters were evicted????

The bunch of losers on the island didn't even make their squat last 2 months.
Whre is all the bravado now?




Calm down, calm down.

Sapphire8, i have never asked you what you did for a living, just the illegal squatters (who racked up a £4000 electricity bill in 2 months....not very eco-warrior eh?)

I respect your privacy, and hope you respect mine.
FYI I am a health professional (a REAL one, not an alternative health quack).

I have never slagged off the YMCA.
Why would I?

I seem to have touched a nerve.
You call me names (Big Mouth, multiple personality, sunshine) and shout at me (see the above post), and yet not once have you engaged in any proper debate, or answered a single question i have asked, so that i might understand you better.
You make assumptions too much. Please judge me by my words.

I am happy that the illegal squatters are gone.
I wish you well, despite the anger you seem to have towards me.
I am off the the Vic for a beer.
The game is over,
good night

Fag an Bealach!!!!

"You make assumptions too much. Please judge me by my words."


setanta, 3 days ago...
Th sqttrs n rvn's t r bnch f frldng thvs! Thy r lvng n cncl lnd, ccssd sng thr ppls bts. D thy py ncm tx n thr 'dntns' rcvd frm vstr t th slnd pyng fr thr vd nd mk blv wtchry? D thy py cncl tx fr th prprty thy rsd n? Whr d thy pt thr 'rcycld' rbbsh? Wh r th 'rspctd scntsts' cmng t gv lctrs? Ths thvs hv dfcd th rvr frnt wth gly hm md bnnrs, llglly rctd nd whch spl th bty f th r. Th snr tht r cncl tx pys t vct thm, th bttr. W nd t snd mssg t ths thvs NW!!!

The above text has been deliberately disemvowelled as it is in breach of the terms.


"You make assumptions too much. Please judge me by my words."


What words were in there that offended the evicted so much?
If calling squatters thieves is that bad, i apologise. How would you describe somone who invades and holds onto someone elses property?
If calling alchemical healing witchery is offensive then i apologise. It is not science though and intimates new age 'magical' elements similar to witchcraft.
How about answering the questions i posed that the squats couldn't answer?

I accept you as you are, please accept me too.

to be quite frank, your incessant shouting and rudeness makes it difficult to engage in adult debate with you.
Please be a little more grown up when addressing me.


You are shouting.... using capitals while writing on the net is regarded as 'SHOUTING', it is rude and not really liked as it is a bit vulgar.
I guess your blood pressure is up a bit, hence the reduced vision.

And you do make assumptions..... I said i was off for a beer, not a pint!
I am a lady, and tend to drink by the glass, not pint. Old fashioned maybe, but again puts the kaibosh on your assumptions.
I have never presumed to call u male, female or androgyne......

You seem obsessed by my disemvoweled posting, which you and your pals object to. All the queries in the posting have been repeated and none have been answered by you or the freeloading squatters.......

What is so wrong about my going out for a beer on a friday night?
I sympathise with your homeless pals looking for a new squat, but they could always crash with you eh?
Or buy their own land/accommodation....................................................................

The game is over.
no second half
Be magnanimous in defeat

I would hardly call the publicity that has been raised on this subject a defeat, like I said earlier, we are only just getting started.
It's going to be a long hot summer.
Funny how you have ended up representing all the other hate-mongers on this thread.
Perhaps Richard Turk will take you out for a pleasure cruise to celebrate your hollow victory in reclaiming what is rightfully or wrongfully his.
I glad that we managed to heal you of your split personality disorder.

How could i say hello to people i have never met?

Since you do not wish to engage in friendly debate and insist on shouting at me, i will no longer reply to you after today.

As noone seems to answer questions on this thread is appears that this thread is finished.
At least now the Ait is back in the councils hands to do what the electorate wish with.

You said recently you were an "independent observer." You said "we" and that's not independent....
I agree with you that this has been the most talked about event in the area for sometime....
Any missed points are not always the fault of the 'receiver', but that of the 'communicator.'....
Who are the "interested parties?" Stop dancing around this and name them please....
Of national interest ...yes, until the next story. But then it could have been of international interest with the connection to the Waterkeepers Alliance. Yes I found The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health "Environmental Health News" article of 27 March 2009....

"We" is collective, we are all independent & inter-dependent, that's how the Comos works.
Do your research leslie, there is plenty of balanced information on this subject out there, open your mind to a world of possibilities, become one with the Universe.
We wish you good luck with your one man crusade and hope that you can also find a positive and constructive way of contributing to the local community and to future generations in a benevolent way, as we wish too.
The End.

I am delighted to hear that you and the island squatters wish to contribute to the local community.

May i suggest they start by paying council tax, whilst squatting on or using OUR island.

May i suggest you openly declare any donations made for 'services' provided by the island squatters and pay income tax on that also.

Goodness knows the council could do with a few quid ;-)

"Como"...what as in the singer? Did you mean "Cosmos"?
Oh don't worry I do my research. The problem is that the results don't always suit people.
My mind is very open, but not to the Islanders way of life, which I likely pay for indirectly via my taxes.
Ah spot on got me...I am a one man Crusader, but despite my trying you have not convinced me to support the Islanders.
"The End"...somehow I don't think so :-)

News Flash: Radio Jackie in talks with Raven's eco-pirate, pieces of Ait, pieces of Ait


i visited the island on sunday for the healing people and planet weekend.

can i just say how fantastic this place is?

it's got a permaculture garden, a cinema, a healing room, a common room, a swap shop, a kitchen which turns out great mostly organic VEGAN food, loads and loads of information about eco ideas and products, interesting articles and information boards on the walls and displays dotted around, a little library, a well stocked kids space, a beautiful garden and a brilliant you realise that they have recycling bins for plastic, bio, metal and general waste in all the public areas?? They also get used too...the general waste bin was nearly empty compared to the others. where else in public buildings have you seen this?

i talked to various 'residents' of the island:

they are hoping to be able to install wind, solar and water power to the island thus taking them off grid for services (which i hope you will agree is something that all of us can learn from)

they want to have more and more open workshops for eco-based health conscious culture such as early morning wild food walks and are open to anyone who wants to come and give a workshop on any subject to come and discuss it with them. one of the residents says she hopes to have a regular tea dance on the island in the lovely ballroom.

they already have REGULAR yoga, tai chi, art and music workshops.

there is an OCEANS AND RIVERS CONFERENCE on this Sunday 26 May to be attended by well respected scientists.

there is a CONSCIOUS MEDIA CONFERENCE 1-3 May. This conference is addressing what it means to report the news and what it means should the news keep deteriorating in the way that it currently is. We are more and more being controlled by PR agents hiding behind the press to get people to live shallower and shallower lives...consume more and more and more and more and more and more, be fobbed off with more and more pitiful excuses...if you really care about what's going on in the media then this should be of interest to you.

it seems to me that these people are consuming less and less and less and less. it would be a great shame for the town of surbiton to hate them because of their appearance or their alternative methods of acquisition, yes some of them do look a little less than desirable for such a respectable town, but i didn't detect the smell of unwashed crusties...i did, however, get a sense of joy and great positive energy, as well as intelligence, i chatted with one of the less good looking members of the community and he was full of wisdom despite his apperance!

going back to my part of london was a shock...everyone looked so grey and depressed.

i advise anyone who hasn't visited, and a few of you on this page hasn't, to go across the short stretch of the river and enjoy what these people have to offer. All this wonder for a donation of a few if all public services ran like this one the world would be a much better place.

As for the article in the so called newspaper the Sun...the islanders should have a hunt the t*urd competition for visitors to the island...i didn't see any!

may the gods back you all the way on this little venture raven's ait eco-warriors, i look forward to my next visit to your little paradise.

Sapphire8, you and your unwashed 'comrades' will be introduced to justice soon enough. You're all very unwelcome and the council will lose patience soon, as many residents have lost theirs already.

Big Mouth Strikes Again

setanta, 3 days ago...
Th sqttrs n rvn's t r bnch f frldng thvs! Thy r lvng n cncl lnd, ccssd sng thr ppls bts. D thy py ncm tx n thr 'dntns' rcvd frm vstr t th slnd pyng fr thr vd nd mk blv wtchry? D thy py cncl tx fr th prprty thy rsd n? Whr d thy pt thr 'rcycld' rbbsh? Wh r th 'rspctd scntsts' cmng t gv lctrs? Ths thvs hv dfcd th rvr frnt wth gly hm md bnnrs, llglly rctd nd whch spl th bty f th r. Th snr tht r cncl tx pys t vct thm, th bttr. W nd t snd mssg t ths thvs NW!!!

The above text has been deliberately disemvowelled as it is in breach of the terms.

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.

Does this comment ,and your ability to edit/ delete posts, means you are an administrator on

I await a reply with interest

Why don't we meet up for a little chat and I'll tell you exactly where I come from.
I will be at the next local residents AGM, with the local Lib Dem councilors, Dave from the Met Police and representitives from Kingston University.
Bring your multiple personalities with you.

What's with the multiple personalties jibe?

Here's another karma point, 'cos thats the kinda guy i am :-)

I would rather the people on the island (or you, as you seem to have made yourself their rep), simply answered my questions on this open forum, thank you.

Any chance you might do that please, rather than smear me with accusations of big mouth and multiple personalities (which are personally abusive, but i'm a grown up and can take verbal/written abuse)?

BTW Why did you disemvowell my posting? What was it that was so upsetting on it?

I doubt that you or the illegal squatters on Ravens ait have the wherewithal to answer any of these questions........

Yours in anticipation

I didn't disemvowell your offensive comment, did, read the terms of use. There will be a series of public meetings upcoming soon, read the surrey comet for details, come along and vent your spleen, I think you might find yourself a bit out of your league though sunshine.


My comment was not offensive, just you and your pals couldn't handle the questions i asked ;-)

I am able to handle you calling me names (ie Big Mouth) and accusing me of having a mental illness (*ie multiple personality disorder)
Now you refer to me in a supercillious manner (ie Sunshine)
I have not once called you names or been derogatory towards you, and i have not gone crying to the admin.
I don't mind what you say about me, and i will not going crying to mummy when others have a point of view different to mine.

You and the illegal squatters on Ravens ait have yet to answer a single question that i, and others on this forum, have put to them.

If you, or they have an answer to this, write it in black and white for all to see.
Highly unlikely, as a week after my first question, no one has the gumption to answer any of he questions on my several posts.
However i look forward in anticipation to the answers.

BTW i sent you a karma point on your above posting, to show that i have nothing personal against you, and will not be drawn into a slanging match :-)

"Out of your league sunshine." That's an interesting comment. Would I be out of my league? You see, as some will know from other threads, I will go to public meetings and I will speak.....OK! all of you who do know me stop yawning!!

Sapphire8 you have already figured me out when you said I was a 'crusader.' The more opponents I have in front of me the better. I'm giving you this opportunity to get me on your side. You keep refering to "interested parties." At the meeting I will ask Sapphire8 to stand up and identify themselves and name those "parties" in the interest of the people. Still in your league? I think we are in the same league..the human league! I don't agree with the islanders ambition, occupation methods, lifestyle etc. But I don't want them persecuted if they have a genuine, provable evidence of "interested parties."

So to use 'league' language. Kick the ball or get off the pitch :-)

Read the papers Leslie, this information is in the public domain.
As an ex-postman I suggest you get on your bike and come and join our crusade, we might even get you elected as a local councillor or maybe even the next mayor, who knows what the future holds?
I look forward to meeting you at the next meeting and will try my best not to yawn.
Now if you will excuse me, I have a job to go to, rent and taxes to pay.

Well sapphire8, we gathered that you weren't one of the island invaders.

Any chance the illegal squatters on the island are submitting accounts to the taxman, which include the 'donations' received for their
'services' to the community?

We still anticipate an answer from the illegal squatters.


I have read the papers recently.
I have not seen mention of you sapphire, so maybe you could fill us all in on what is in the public domain?

Stop prevaricating and posturing, and answer the questions.

(laugh) I do enjoy our really I do.
I look forward to your support ;)
Now we are going to play spot the other before we call them out!! Joy!!
But, that meeting has to have Councillors involved. If it doesn't then I'm not interested as I want to hear both sides. Why? Because when a question is asked you can 'read' the answerer's face...OMG I'm now a face-reader..are you corrupting me to your New Age ways, and me out there with there with the Triple Goddess. Ah making a circle under a blood red moon dancing naked.....OK now I've made people ill...sorry!

p.s. I will research the newspapers.

Bart Ricketts and Chrissie Hitchcock as well as Dave from the Met Police and Kingston University representatives will be in attendence.

Aren't these the very people who evicted your friends from their illegal squat?


What scientists and officials from Kingston university have come over to help the illegal squatters on Ravens Ait set up their

Still waiting for an answer............................

Watch out leslie,

Sensitive people might go reporting you to the headmaster if you don't agree with their opinion ;-)

Thanks for the advice Setanta. Luckily for me I was bought up in the age of the cane at school so the headmaster, or to be pc headperson holds no fears for me. The fact is that I keep being told to go and look things up.....I thought googling was unenvironmental? Just give us, the people, the names of the developers we must look at. The reason why nobody does is very simple.....they are scared of those developers a meerkat would say "simples!"

Why would people bother coming to 'vent their spleen'? This is an illegal occupation and the council will have to have the squatters removed, even if they did have the support of the community.

Do you picture it being a lively debate featuring that cocksure idiot who features on the website, ending with the council allowing you to stay on the island because you are doing such a worthy job? If so, I think it is you that might be a bit out of your league.

The bottom line is that the squatters have convinced themselves that they are 'in the right' because they are talking about environmental issues. Unfortunately, the world does not work like that*

*Disclaimer - If I am wrong and the world does in fact work like that, please put me down for a free large house on the river roads and I promise I will mow the lawn each week.

Wrong, try to get your facts right mate.

We are actually talking about community issues here that will benefit future generations and the business community as well.
The caretakers do not wish to stay on the Island indefinately & have offered the council a date to leave.
They and many other local and national groups would however like the council to act responsibily and to keep their promise that they are committed to maintain the Island for RECREATIONAL & EDUCATIONAL USE, as set out in the Land Covenants, and recorded in the House of Lords.

Got a problem with that?

Thanks for the clarification Sapphire.
What date for leaving have the illegal squatters offered the rightful caretakers of the island (Kingson council as elected by the locals)?

What chance is there i might get an answer to a simple question?
Yours in anticipation,

Sapphire8 said,

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.

When you say this, does this mean you are one of the administrators of this website?


Maybe the administrator might be able to clear this up for us, please?


Now I did noticed that myself. I second the administrator clearing this matter up as well. Afterall we don't want anyone claiming squatter's rights :-)

And whilst I'm here . I did say on another related 'Ait' thread that I had not given anyone positive or negative karma points. I am now doing so! Why? Because the very people who live their lives according to karma tend to hand out these negative points. So I will bang out a few positive ones everytime I see a letter which isn't abusive in it's content. Ah well that's me lined up for a load of negative karma....

Whoever gave me 2 Karma....too kind :-)

Today I went to the 'Islanders' website. Very interesting, and I did note one section, which reads:
"This land is yours and ours to share as a community and used as a centre for much needed environmental and social change." So the land is mine? I can visit it anytime I like (with boat)? What of other 'commoners' who will decide to visit their land.....who decides who can visit? What will happen if a visitor to their land is refused landing? Will any Common Law Rights be violated against an individual. I say one thing for you 'Islanders', you are making life lively....

It's been said before that Raven's Ait is 'common land' because of the Treaty of Lambeth/Kingston of 1217. The rights and laws surrounding 'common land' are a maze after a simple glance. So I thought I would check out the Treaty. Lots of search results. One on Wikipedia:Talk was interesting. Now you cannot trust everything on Wikipedia as 'contributors' to the site can change entries for their own purposes. Which is why under Talk:Wikipedia Treaty of Lambeth, section 'revisionism' my eyes were drawn as it mentioned Raven's Ait. "Ah", I thought, "a definitive comment to be read." Perhaps others should read it as it warns about people altering the entry to suit their own purposes.

Now I know about this I will check on the site to see nothing is placed on upon it, good or bad.

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.

Source: Hansard (1989)
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.

Future generations might benefit a great deal and thank us for so doing.

Was someone trying to rewrite history?

Wikipeida has it's failings, but it also keep good records of attempted changes.

The answer to your question is simple. As far as I know nobody has rewritten history either for good or bad reasons regarding Raven's Ait. The fact that it was mentioned made me make the comment. So if anyone is thinking of amending the entry then it will be spotted and checked out.

Generally I find Wikipedia a very good starting point for most research because if an entry is very incorrect it makes people like me think "why has that been done?" The more I research the history of the Ait and it's current situation I come to the conclusion that it is one big mess.

Kingston Upon Thames' History Re-written by IP adress

Nice try Sunshine!

Just checked site. Spotted IP
Now it's obvious that myself, sapphire8, and at least two other people are watching this site. I don't know what is being written as it is removed before I can see it. Interesting however....

Well done Sapphire8 for detecting a change. I know it's not my IP address so I'm still a good boy :-)
Anyone we know?


Plea to S8's mummy,please lob her "my little pony" laptop into the Thames on your next visit to the Ait.

Revision as of 22:31, 18 January 2008
RJ Gordon (talk | contribs)
(a fuller account, based upon Sir Maurice Powicke in The Thirteenth Century (OEH) (~~~~))

The Treaty of Lambeth, also known as the Treaty of Kingston, was signed on an island at Kingston-upon-Thames in 1217 by Prince Louis of France, ending his campaign in the First Barons' War, and his claim to the throne of England.

When his campaign had begun, baronial enemies of the unpopular King John had flocked to his banner, but after John's death, and his replacement by a regency on behalf of the boy king Henry III (John's son), many had deserted to the loyalist cause. When his army was beaten at Lincoln, and his naval forces (led by Eustace the Monk) were defeated off the coast of Sandwich, he was forced to make peace under English terms.

The principal provisions of the treaty were an amnesty for English rebels, land possession to return to the status quo ante, the Channel Islands to be returned to the English crown, Prince Louis to undertake not to attack England again, and to attempt to give Normandy back to the English crown, and 10,000 marks to be given to Louis.

Treaty of Kingston (Lambeth)
From: The Oxford Companion to British History | Date: 2002 | Author: | © The Oxford Companion to British History 2002, originally published by Oxford University Press 2002. (Hide copyright information) Copyright information

Lambeth, treaty of, 1217. After John's death in 1216, the supporters of his young son Henry III defeated Louis of France's men at Lincoln. On 20 September 1217 the treaty of Lambeth ratified terms agreed at Kingston upon Thames. Louis abandoned all claims to the English throne and retired to France but was given 10,000 marks in compensation. The king's supporters, chief of whom was William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, agreed to maintain the liberties of the subject as defined in Magna Carta.

J. A. Cannon

Cite this article

JOHN CANNON. "Lambeth, treaty of." The Oxford Companion to British History. Oxford University Press. 2002. 19 Apr. 2009 .

JOHN CANNON. "Lambeth, treaty of." The Oxford Companion to British History. Oxford University Press. 2002. (April 19, 2009).

JOHN CANNON. "Lambeth, treaty of." The Oxford Companion to British History. Oxford University Press. 2002. Retrieved April 19, 2009 from

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Invitation to this film, the musical string quartet, the social and talk about the environmental future is an effort to create a friendly entertaining community evening to build bridges in this community and create consensus about the community island future. We welcome your views, ideas and camaraderie.
We are located at Ravens Ait Island in Kingston Upon Thames and if you come to the landing next to Thames yacht club on Portsmouth Road and press the buzzer we will ferry you across.

PS: We also wish to invite all the Environmentally minded people, students, professors, trustees of the Kingston University and their community, so please pass on this invitation.

See you there!

RSVP Please Respond by email :

Join the Facebook Group: Ravens Ait

See the Lambeth treaty, signed on Ravens Ait island restoring Full Rights to the English people in the year 1217 :

Also please see the Youtube snipet of English spiritual historian, Mary Caine's film about the Kingston zodiac on Libra segment:

Its quite ironic that the pirate 'Jolly Roger' is flying high above Raven's Ait, especially as there is a Seascouts base on the island. I believe it is classified as a Training Ship, and maybe people should work their way back up the family tree of organisations connected to the Seascouts. Maybe one should also check out the legal definition of piracy on the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) website. Not that I think the occupiers of the Ait are pirates, but they want to be taken seriously. So take down the pirate flag. You're not children playing a game. You want to be seen a 'serious' occupiers don't you?

On the subject of children. The Seascouts are mostly classified as children. I've been on the occupiers
website and read all your Health & Safety details etc, but there is one ommision. Do all your personnel occupying the Ait have current Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance to be in a an area where children are going about their lawful activity? (Seascouts do pay for a lease for their base). At times when the Seascouts wish to go about their activity can you guarentee that any of your visitors meet CRB clearance?

I'm going to treat you seriously. You've been on the TV and in the papers to make your point. But the high priority is Safety as stated on your own website which I applaud. Get everyone CRB checked as it only takes one incident and you will be gone from the Ait. Why? The general public might not care about the legality of who owns what and where, but one incident with a child will get their attention. Then the National press start digging into everyone's past. Can all of you withstand that digging? I expect you can, but look around you. Do you really know everything about the people you see?

This point was raised at the recent Surbiton Neighbourhood AGM. CRB checks apply to all adults that work directly with children, so therefore apply to the Seascouts leaders and helpers, not in this case to the current residents of the Island (some of whom have children of their own). I think that you will find the previous tenants and their employees where also not CRB checked, yet the Seacouts shared the usage of the Island with them.
I would be more interested in digging into the 3 previous Ltd companies history (RAVEN'S AIT LTD / RAVEN'S AIT HALLS MANAGEMENT COMPANY LTD & HARTO LTD) and that of its company directors. Information on these Ltd companies is available from Companies House records and easily accessible to all members of the public and press.

The CRB check idea was for your benefit. If everyone on the Ait has been cleared then fine.
As for the digging into previous companies. If there is something of interest then as you have already done it please inform the rest of us what is of interest....

Thanks for your concern leslie, I myself, am not one of the islanders but I believe that they are aware of the point you so kindly raised. Yoga classes are being held at the Ait by a local surbiton resident next Saturday at 11am, perhaps you might like to pop over for a chat, come visit and unwind, meet the locals.

Thanks for the invitation, but I do not agree with the current occupation of Raven's Ait. Whether that occupation is legal or illegal is up to more qualified people, but until a legal status is forthcoming I would not cross over to the Ait using a craft that might not be insured. Your craft operators are insured to carry passengers I assume?

You will be pleased to know that the Raven's Ait Islanders are currently in talks with a reputable local ferry business, PARR'S, to provide a regular service from Kingston town to Raven's Ait. The chief marine mechanic based on the Island has also recently carried out a full service and much needed repairs to the original poorly maintained ferry, at no extra cost to the council taxpayer.

An interesting development. I'm certain the 'chief marine mechanic' has done all required of them to ensure a fully working, maintained safe ferry. I would NOT however allow any member of my family onto this ferry until the 'islanders' publish via the Surrey Comet the details of any public liability insurance cover they have obtained to carry passengers. Such publication of the name of the Insurers will show the people of Kingston that you are serious in what you are trying to achieve. Sorry to be such a 'down' merchant, but I'm certain you will see the sense behind my words...

Public Liability Insurance is not, as yet, a legal requirement.

You talk more sense than some on this site leslie, if or when the council makes the right decision on the future use of this Island on the Thames, and a voluntary/charitable organization is set up to steer this community project in the right direction, then I am certain that all the proper proceedures will be put into place.
In the mean-time, the proper signage and disclaimers are still in place from the previous failed tenants/business.
Visitors/guests are signed in and out, health and safety issues are on the top of the agenda and first-aid courses are to be made available to those who do not already hold such a qualification.

P.s Child welfare have recently visited the Island and are happy with this location as far as having children living here goes.

I really advise the 'islanders' to seek legal advice. Linked to Public Liability is a whole host of 'duty of care' and 'common law' minefields. The fact is people have been invited onto the Ait. I suspect that no money has changed hands for any services, but if it has then that complicates matters again if there is a dispute. Then again there is the Occupiers Liability Act, and certain aspect of trespass by other whilst the 'islanders' are in control of the Ait. The plain fact is that the Law is never black or white are some believe. It is grey, and in the grey lives the coincidence that most sharks are grey on top :-)

The present signage and disclaimer from the previous owners are of interest. I might look at them next time I past as I suspect they don't say these words...."or required by statute." Fully applaud the fact that people are signed in and out as you need to know who is there in the event of an emergency.

I must dispute that I "talk more sense than some of this site." What are you trying to do to me!!??

Today's Surrey Comet (April 24) "Squatters' ferry service unsafe says coastguard." The Maritime and Coastguard agency (MCA) has received complaints that boats are being operated by people without boatmaster's licenses and insurance. It also claimed that boats don't have correct fire equipment or life jackets on board that could save lives. Article also stated that up to 200 visitors every weekend have been ferried over to the island since the group occupied it on February 22, including elderly people and children.

Well to get one question out of the way in case you're thinking of asking it. No, I was not one of those who complained to the MCA. I did however, via advise you about CRB checks, insurance, public liability insurance, the Occupier's Liability Act, duty of care, and the biggest minefield of all...common land. This advice was not to support you, but in replying to my comments you were aware of the 'concerns.' If the MCA are correct regarding the operators of the boats to the Ait then now this is out in the public domain you cannot afford one safety incident. I suspect that your supporters and the occupiers of the Ait are my more clever than me, but you clearly lack two qualities which would have been useful to your cause:
1. Common sense.
2. Risk assessment skills.

I've no idea how this will all end and I wish none of you any harm, but slowly you are backing yourself into a corner...not advisable on a island :-)

RE:Raven's Ait.

Leslie, for your information I do not inhabit the island, I am a local resident and an Independent Observer.
There is a proposal for a Steering Committee to be set up consisting of representatives from Local and Parish Groups, Schools, the University, Charities, Business' and local Government.

I can report to you, for the record, that on Sunday last week, the caretakers ferried across representatives from the London Fire Brigade, the Metropolitian Police Force and I believe the Surrey Ambulance service. They carried out a full health and safety inspection and chatted about their interests in the future use of the island. All safety measures were in place and given the O.K. good contacts were made. These people do this community work out of sense of public duty, what do you do Leslie?

As a local resident, I fully support this vision to give back Raven's Ait Island to the greater community
Common Sense & Common Knowledge aways prevail.

Well I'm certain that the London Fire Brigade, Metropolitan Police and Ambulance service would give their Health & Safety inspection findings to the Surrey Comet to reassure & inform the public. Why not contact Kerry Grove (reporter) with the officers names so this can be printed in the next issue. With Summer coming the boat movement on the river will increase and in proportion the chances of an accident/incident. Any accident might not be the fault of the islanders, but any inquiry will look at licenses and certificates. If these are not available, then I stand by my previous advice.

Tell you what! The islanders will be reading this. Can I suggest that any licenses or safety certificates etc be put up on this site with the relevant issuing organisations name and registration number. That Sapphire8 will allow me, also a local resident, to check them out. There shouldn't be a problem with that, should there?

Good points well made, but I don't understand why you think that a group of people who are breaking and entering onto this island would then take the time to follow Health & Safety legislation.

Why do I take the time to point out various Health & Safety legislation etc? Very simple answer really. the main Islander 'leaders' (not the right word I'm certain, but I'll go with it) have named themselves. I have to give the islanders the benefit of the doubt in believing that they will do the right thing as regards safety and insurance. All of this is recorded on my emails, and so could be used as evidence in the event of any accident/incident involving death/injury/damage etc. Nobody can say they were not told, and so I will keep nudging them into doing things the correct way even though their initial occupation can be viewed as the wrong way.

Leslie, you will lose this argument unfortunately - these guys think they are entitled to use everything without any responsibility for it's upkeep.

I walked past the Ait the other day to see that they are even using the original owner's boats to cross back to the other side of the river rather than their own!

The guy who was using the boat got out and hopped into a car that he had parked nearby! Very environmentally friendly - take over an island within a 5 minute walk of a train station, but still run a car everywhere.

Winning or losing isn't important for me. You see I just don't want them to say they were not told at later date. At the moment all is going very well for them, but the Summer is coming. The river attracts many types of people then, some good, some bad. Maybe they will not be the only one's occupying the Ait using 'squatters rights'. Kingston attracts many youngsters. Anyone who knows what goes on after the clubs & pubs turn out will realise there is a magnet for fun along the river. The current occupiers should take this onboard (no pun intended)....

In his book Pirates & The Lost Templar Fleet, David Hatcher Childress claims that the flag was named after the first man to fly it, King Roger II of Sicily (c.1095-1154). Roger was a famed Templar and the Knights Of The Temple were in conflict with the Pope over his conquests of Apulia and Salerno in 1127.[10] Childress claims that, many years later, after the Templars were disbanded by the church, at least one Templar fleet split into four independent flotillas dedicating themselves to pirating ships of any country sympathetic to Rome, thus the flag was an inheritance, and its crossed bones a reference to the original Templar logo of a red cross with blunted ends.

Origins of the design

While privateers are shown in earlier Dutch paintings flying a red flag, the first written record of what it was used for occurred in 1694 when an English Admiralty law made the flying of a red flag, known as a "Red Jack", mandatory to distinguish them from Navy ships. The first references to a black flag are contained in records of privateering actions dated 1697. These records show that when the victim's vessel showed resistance, the Red Jack was lowered and a black flag raised in its place to indicate no quarter would be given. A yellow flag was also used but there is no record of its meaning. With the end of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714, many of the privateers turned to piracy and continued to use the red and black flags but now decorated with their own designs. Edward England, for example, flew the black flag depicted above from his mainmast, a red version of the same flag from his foremast, and the English National flag from his ensign staff.[8]

The first record of the skull and crossed bones design being used by pirates is an entry in a log book held by the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Dated December 6th, 1687 it describes its use by pirates not on a ship but on land.[11]

"And we put down our white flag, and raised a red flag with a Skull head on it and two crossed bones (all in white and in the middle of the flag), and then we marched on."

Black flags are known to have been used by pirates at least five years before the earliest known attachment of the name "Jolly Roger" to such flags. Contemporary accounts show Captain Martel's pirates using a black flag in 1716,[12] Edward Teach, Charles Vane, and Richard Worley in 1718[13], and Howell Davis in 1719.[14] An even earlier use of a black flag with skull, crossbones, and hourglass is attributed in 1700 to pirate captain Emanuel Wynn, according to a wide variety of secondary sources.[15] Reportedly, these secondary sources are based on the account of Captain John Cranby of the HMS Poole and are verified at the London Public Record Office.


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