A Thames Fit To Swim

An urban hike on the banks of the Thames, with PatagoniaProper Magazine and London Waterkeeper.

A Thames Fit To Swim


“In a bed, in a bed
by the waterside I will lay my head
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul”

Living on the banks of the Lea, rivers are close to my heart, and I see daily how polluted London’s rivers are. This first hand experience inspired me to become a founding-trustee of London Waterkeeper – an independent charity set up by  campaigner, Theo Thomas, to challenge polluters and defend rivers in the capital. We’re a member of Waterkeeper Alliance – the fastest-growing environmental movement for water in the world.

Last year we successfully applied to become a Patagonia environmental grantee, and they supported our Riversides campaign. This year we applied again, this time for our A Thames Fit To Swim campaign, and I’m excited to say that we’ve just been awarded the maximum grant of $10,000 USD. The good folks at Patagonia are not only funding us, but they’re also helping spread the word about the campaign.

The aim of A Thames Fit To Swim is for people to be able to safely swim in the Thames in London. It might seem like a dream to think that the general public could safely bathe in the Thames for recreation, but it’s been done in Copenhagen and we can do it here!

We want to see live bathing water quality updates, and swim zones between Putney Bridge and Hampton Court. There are times when the Thames is clean enough to swim in, and others when it’s not, but no one knows when they are. Without this knowledge, people who swim there are putting their health at risk. Raw sewage is still discharged into the Thames when our sewers overflow, and we have a right to know when this happens.

We met up with Patagonia and the guys from Proper Magazine to go on a Thames-side urban hike, so Theo could tell everyone more about the campaign. Our route took us past Richmond Park and Kew Gardens, and it was incredible to see how rural the scenery can be in the heart of the capital.

A Thames Fit To Swim
Theo collecting water samples. The froth (christened “crap-puccino” by Proper Mag Neil) could be sewage. We also saw sanitary products and other evidence of sewage.

A Thames Fit To Swim
Our Jake and Proper Mag Neil admiring the view.

Proper Mag’s photographer, Mark, has he spotted some rare wildlife?

Theo telling us about the history of Old Deer Park,  it takes its name from the hunting park created by James I in 1604.

A Thames Fit To Swim

No hike is complete without a pint and a burger at the end. The Express Tavern at Kew Bridge definitely ticks all the boxes and keeps you in that bucolic bubble for a wee while longer. I was especially happy with my bramble cider 🙂

Sign up to London Waterkeeper’s petition to ask Thames Water to tell us when its sewers overflow. 

Black Friday – Patagonia Worn Wear Returns to the Palace

This year we decided we wanted to do something positive and sustainable for Black Friday, so we’ve teamed up with our pals at Patagonia to bring their Worn Wear station back to the Palace. Martina will be working her magic and mending any of your outdoor garments for free, and giving advice on how to do repairs too.

See all the details and RSVP for Worn Wear at The Brokedown Palace – Black Friday 25th November.


Patagonia Worn Wear Tour

Patagonia’s Worn Wear Tour will be stopping at The Brokedown Palace 11am-7pm on 26/27 April at our Boxpark , Shoreditch store and 28 April at the Spitalfields E1 Bishop’s Square event space.

worn wear

They will repair any broken garments  for free in their Worn Wear Van. Not just Patagonia clothing, but anything that needs repairing! They can only do 20 repairs in a day, so make sure you get there early.

Patagonia Worn Wear

Here’s what Patagonia say, “As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer. This simple act of extending the life of our garments through proper care and repair reduces the need to buy more over time—thereby avoiding the CO2 emissions, waste output and water usage required to build it.

We are taking this radical story to our communities across Europe on a 4,700km, 50 stop, 6 country tour. Our two CNG fuelled vans will be trucking across Europe offering free repairs on busted zippers, rips, tears, buttons and more (we fix all brands). We’ll also be showing people how to make simple repairs on clothes that have a second life left in them.

Find your nearest stop on Patagonia.com and on Patagonia’s Facebook Page.

If it’s broke, fix it!”

While on the road in the Northern Scotland, Patagonia climbing ambassador, Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll reflects on the garments that have accompanied him on expeditions all around the world.

“A piece that is full of patches and repairs has a spirit. It has a story attached to it!” says Sean. The stories we wear are worth hanging onto, repairing and using as long as possible. That’s the heart of Worn Wear and the story of Sean.

Share Your Stories! 
Keep up to date with the tour and share your Worn Wear stories. You can submit your favourite stories on your most loved gear over on the 
Worn Wear Tumblr page . Keep up to date with what’s happening out on the road by following Worn Wear on Instagram @WornWear and using the hastag #wornwear . You can also see the next stops on the tour and share info and invite friends and colleagues to your nearest Worn Wear event by checking out the events section over at the Patagonia Facebook page. 

Keep up to date with Worn Wear at the Palace over on our Instagram @thebrokedownpal.

Poler at the Palace Event Roundup

Poler Stuff brought their #campvibes to the city, with the Poler at the Palace event outside our Boxpark store.

Le TenteDee Dee and Ian chilling in Le Tente, enjoying the bucolic views out over Shoreditch High Street Station.

Steve Edge Le Tente
Shoreditch legend and friend of the Palace Steve Edge checking out the view in his Napsack.

Dee Dee and NoelDee Dee and our host Noel

Daily screenings of cult surf film “Freezing”

AllpressAllpress were selling coffee in a Silver Belles vintage airstream, in aid of Project Waterfall

Greenwood Guild
Tom from The Greenwood Guild demo’ing his carving skills

See more photos on Poler Stuff’s Facebook page here. 


William Exley’s New Comic Is Out!

Our in-house designer, William Exley‘s new comic ‘Golemchik‘ is out today and available from the Nobrow online store. You can also get the highly sought-after signed copies from Gosh Comics in Soho.

william exley gosh comics
Will signing Golemchik at the Gosh Comics launch, photo by Skye Kelly-Barrett of Skull & Heart

“Abandoned by his friends, one young boy goes searching for fun — and finds a golem on the hunt for the same. But as the two go about living out their dreams of having the best summer ever, the boy realises that golems don’t know how to take it easy. To save his town, he’ll have to get his new friend under control!”

By William Exley
Series 17×23
ISBN 9781907704987