A Brief History of the Island
No-one is quite sure how Eel Pie island got its name! "Pie" from the old term for "rock"? The actual pies made from plentiful eels in the upper Thames? A corruption of "Ile De Paix" from the time of Henry VIII? Take your pick. The post-war history of the island is most notable for the struggling Victorian hotel's re-purposing as a rock 'n' roll music venue by the inspirational Arthur Chisnall. In the 1960's and early 70's the Eel Pie Hotel and its sprung dancefloor played host to the Yardbirds, the Who, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Genesis among others. The decrepit building met a fiery end in 1971 and is today modernist housing but the spirit lives on.
Today, the island is home to the only working boatyard on the tidal Thames and river craft of all types come here for maintenance. It recovered from another devastating fire in 1996 and the bohemian quarter containing a variety of artist studios continues to thrive here. This determinedly quirky fragment of creative London flourishes mid-river, at a time when such character is fading from the immaculate corporate city.