Coordinates: 51°26′N 0°26′W / 51.43, -0.43
Thames Street - - 793279
Thames Street, Sunbury

Surrey UK location map
Red pog.svg

Red pog.svg Sunbury-on-Thames shown within Surrey
Population 27,415 (2001)
OS grid reference TQ105695
District Spelthorne
Shire county Surrey
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district TW16
Dialling code 01932
Police Surrey
Fire Surrey
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Spelthorne
List of places: UK • England • Surrey

Sunbury-on-Thames, also known as Sunbury, is a town in the Surrey borough of Spelthorne, England, and part of the London commuter belt. It is located 16 miles (25 km) southwest of central London and bordered by Feltham and Hampton, flanked on the south by the River Thames.[1]


Sunbury hoard Northern probably Kent manfacture Design derived from Marseilles Greek coins with stylised head of Apollo and butting bull between 100BCE and 50BCE

Coin from the Sunbury hoard, with design derived from Greek coins of Marseilles, with stylised head of Apollo and butting bull, 100-50 BCE.[2]

The earliest evidence of occupation in Sunbury is provided by the discovery of Bronze Age funerary urns dating from the 10th century BC. It is mentioned in the Sunbury Charter in AD 962. Many years later the arrival of Huguenot refugees gave the name to French Street.

Sunbury was in the Middlesex Domesday map in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Suneberie. Its Domesday assets were: 7 hides. It had 5 ploughs, meadow for 6 ploughs, cattle pasture. It rendered £6.[3]

The riverside St Mary's Anglican Church and the Ferry House nearby are mentioned in the book Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Other literary references include the difficulty of rowing up Sunbury backwater in "Three men in a boat" by Jerome K. Jerome, and Sunbury Cross under a pall of smoke during "The War of the Worlds" by H.G.Wells.

Sunbury was once the residence of Admiral Hawke who blockaded Rochefort in 1757 and in 1758 he directed the blockade of Brest for six months.

In 1889 a group of music hall stars met in the Magpie hotel in Lower Sunbury to form the Grand Order of Water Rats. The pub itself was named after the horse that one of the entertainers owned, whilst the Grand Order was named because the Magpie (a trotting pony) had been described as a drowned water rat. The Three Fishes in Green Street is one of the oldest pubs in Surrey, thought to date back to the 16th Century [4]

Sunbury-on-Thames was historically part of Middlesex, forming the Sunbury-on-Thames Urban District from 1894.[5] In 1965, most of Middlesex was absorbed into Greater London. However, the Sunbury-on-Thames Urban District was instead transferred to Surrey.[5] The Royal Mail did not adopt the change in 1965 and the postal county remained Middlesex; although postal counties are no longer officially in use.[6] In 1974 the urban district was abolished and it has since formed part of the borough of Spelthorne.[7]

The town todayEdit

Sunbury has two areas divided by the M3. Lower Sunbury, colloquially known as Sunbury Village, borders the river Thames and makes up the southern portion of the town. This area is largely residential suburban and includes the majority of Sunbury's schools and open parkland. The northern section is Sunbury Common and houses many of Sunbury's businesses including Chubb and BP. The M3 and the large roundabout Sunbury Cross divides to the two sections and has a small shopping arcade.

Marking the western border of Sunbury is the Queen Mary Reservoir which was constructed in 1925. This is also home to a sailing club and is regularly used by local schools and youth organisations to teach water sports skills. Lower Sunbury has become increasingly popular with young first time buyers looking to start families. The mixture of Victorian terraces and 1930s semi detached houses in the leafy village offers a favourable and more affordable alternative to London. A conservation area within Sunbury village has been recognised to cover Thames Street and this reflects its historic buildings, numerous pubs, restaurants and a beautiful stretch of Thames river bank leading up to the Church.

Sunbury is a largely suburban town with a number of high-rise office buildings and industrial estates clustered around the M3 and the A308 (Staines Road West) and A316 (Country Way) trunk roads. Sunbury was previously the home of BP's Engineering and Research Centre, located to the north of Sunbury on the site of Meadhurst House, formerly owned by the Cadbury family. The site is now BP's international centre for business and technology and is home to a large number of BP's business units. A number of other companies, including Chubb, also have a presence.

The town has been the home to London Irish Rugby Club since 1932 although since 2001 its premiership team has played at the Madejski Stadium in Reading, Berkshire. However hundreds of minis, youngsters and adults turn out for the club each weekend in Sunbury during the rugby season. A few hundred metres to the east of Sunbury Cross is Kempton Park Racecourse.

Sunbury Court, in Lower Sunbury, is the home of the High Council of the Salvation Army.

Lower Sunbury is the home of the Sunbury Millennium Embroidery. [2] The embroidery was conceived and designed in the 1990s and completed in 2000. Since July 2006 its permanent home is the purpose built Sunbury Millennium Embroidery Gallery, within the well-tended Walled Garden adjoining Sunbury Park. With the opening of a café within the gallery building, which architecturally resembles a boat, this has rapidly become a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, just across the road from a picturesque stretch of the Thames. The Walled Garden also hosts annual concerts and plays in the summer months.

In July of each year, Lower Sunbury is the start of the colourful traditional ceremony of Swan Upping, where two livery companies carry out marking of the swans on the upper reaches of the River Thames. In August, the traditional Sunbury Amateur Regatta takes place on the stretch of the river around Rivermead Island.

Millennium EmbroideryEdit

The town is also home to the Millennium Embroidery, a large commissioned artwork that commemorates Sunbury's ascension to the new millennium. It was designed by John Stamp and David Brown to be a large patchwork of Sunbury landmarks, including St.Mary's Church, Tha Admiral Hawke and the river. The finished piece is actually composed of several embroideries, the largest of which measures 9 by 3 feet (3 {{{uu}}}  m × {{{3}}} {{{uu}}}  m). It took four years to complete and enlisted the help of over 140 volunteers and artists. Queen Elizabeth II visited the Embroidery in 2001 and a dedicated gallery for it was built in 2006.


The town has four primary schools, Chennestone Primary School, St Ignatius RC Primary School,Springfield Primary School and Kenyngton Manor.

Secondary SchoolsEdit

Local leisure, and entertainmentEdit

Notable peopleEdit

Nearest placesEdit





Emergency servicesEdit

Sunbury is served by these emergency services:


  1. ^ "One of those pleasant villages lyingon the Thames, near Hampton Court, Rev. Gilbert White described it, in The Natural History of Selborne, letter xii, 4 November 1767.
  2. ^ Museum of London exhibit
  3. ^ Surrey Domesday Book
  4. ^ A histoty of the Country of Middlesex Vol3 [1]
  5. ^ a b Vision of Britain - Sunbury UD (historic map)
  6. ^ Royal Mail, Address Management Guide, (2004)
  7. ^ Arnold-Baker, C., Local Government Act 1972, (1973)
  8. ^ WSR address


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