Details of this year's Swan Upping ceremony have been released - together with news of an exhibition at the River and Rowing Museum devoted to the ancient ceremony.

The annual swan census starts at Sunbury on Monday July 15th and finishes at Abingdon Bridge on Friday July 19th. See full details of the week in the panel.

Last year's ceremony was cancelled for the first time in centuries because of river conditions.More information on the Royal website

Meanwhile an exhibition opens at the River and Rowing Museum at Henley explaining more about Swan Upping through a series of stories, artefacts and film footage.

The ceremony was originally a way of marking ownership of swans at a time when the birds were regarded as a delicacy. Today the primary purpose of the event is conservation. The Swan Uppers work with the Oxford University Zoology Department to monitor the welfare of the birds.

Since the 1980s, a Thames swan’s life expectancy has increased from three to eight years, helped by improved awareness of the dangers of electrical cables, plastic waste and lead poisoning by fishermen.

Cygnet being marked at Mortlake, 1931

The exhibition complements an Museum Education project. With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fun, the Vintners’ Company and The Worshipful Company of Dyers, and support from the Queen’s Swan Marker David Barber, the Museum is developing a unique set of learning resources and activities celebrating the traditions and practice of Swan Upping.

These include learning packs, a DVD, workshops and loan boxes for primary schools throughout the Thames catchment. As part of this Swan Upping project, the Museum also hosts the Swan Uppers as they make their way along the Thames, and they will be in Henley this year on 17 July.

David Barber said: “I am delighted to have been involved with the development of the educational project and the exhibition about Swan Upping.

"The museum is a wonderful resource for people of all ages to learn about the river, particularly children, and it is vitally important to teach people about rivers and the wildlife they support. Rivers form part of our heritage and their conservation is of paramount importance not only to the creatures that live on or near them, but to the population at large.

" I am pleased that Swan Upping provides an opportunity to raise the profile of conservation on the river while bringing much pleasure and increasing the knowledge of the children we encounter during the week.”

The exhibition is open until next year. More info on the River & Rowing Museum website

Story dated June 14th 2013


The observation points and times are as follows (all times given are approximate):

  • Monday 15th July 2013
    Sunbury 09.00 - Departure point
    Shepperton Lock 10.45
    Penton Hook Lock 12.30
    Romney Lock 17.30

  • Tuesday 16th July 2013
    Eton Bridge 09.00 - Departure point
    Boveney Lock 10.15
    Boulters Lock 13.00
    Cookham Bridge 14.00
    Marlow Lock 17.30

  • Wednesday 17th July 2013
    Marlow Bridge 09.00 - Departure point
    Hurley Lock 10.30
    Hambleden Lock 12.00
    Henley Town 13.30
    Marsh Lock 16.00
    Shiplake Lock 17.00
    Sonning Bridge 18.00

  • Thursday 18th July 2013
    Sonning-on-Thames 09.00 - Departure point
    Caversham Lock 10.30
    Mapledurham Lock 12.30
    Goring Lock 17.00
    Moulsford 18.00

  • Friday 19th July 2013
    Moulsford 09.00 - Departure point
    Benson Lock 10.15
    Clifton Hampden Bridge 13.00
    Culham Lock 16.15
    Abingdon Bridge 17.30

Information for schools and the general public
Local schools seeking further information should contact the Swan Marker’s office on +44 (0)1628 523030 or email info@royalswan.co.uk

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