THAMES, temz, England, the most import ant and famous river in Great Britain, rising in Gloucestershire, and flowing in an irregular eastward course into the North Sea. It sepa rates the counties of Gloucester, Oxford, Buckingham, Middlesex and Essex on the north from Wilts, Berks, Surrey and Kent on the south. Its total length, measured from the Nore Light, is 217 miles, of which 180 miles are navigable. The upper waters around Ox ford are known to the poets as Isis. The river passes the cities of Oxford, Reading, Maiden .head, Windsor, Chertsey, Kingston, and passes through the heart of London. Below London it widens gradually into an estuary, which, at the mouth, is 27 miles wide. The river is navi gable for the largest vessels up to the east end of London, where the great Victoria, Albert and West India docks have been constructed. The upper course is connected by an extensive canal system with the Severn River and the middle counties. Pike, perch; roach, dace and other fish are caught in quantities. The sur
face of the Thames from Oxford is largely taken up by pleasure craft on holidays in fine weather, and the regattas held then are world famous. The Medway is the largest tributary. The Cherwell flows in at historic Oxford 112 miles up stream; the Pang flows in at Pang bourne 51 miles from the mouth, and the Ken net at Reading, six miles farther down. The water supply of London is taken mainly from the Thames. The natural flow is about 350, 000,000 gallons a day, and the water companies take about 130,000,000 of this. Naturally the utmost care is taken to preserve the water from pollution by sewage. In passing through Lon don the water front of the river is vastly in creased by the method of constructing docks cut out in rectangles from the land. In no other way could the 40 miles of water front be made to serve the enormous business of London.