PODCAST: London’s Puzzling Places – the radical past of Twickenham’s Eel Pie Island

London’s Puzzling Places is a new podcast that delves into the stories behind curious buildings – however big or small – across the capital.

In its first episode, host Alice Brooker and guests Ellie Brown and Tilly Alexander discuss the likes of thin houses and converted phone boxes, before taking a deep dive into the history of Eel Pie Island in Twickenham.

FANCY A PIE?: Eel Pie Island is a small ait on the river Thames by Twickenham. Photographed here in 2007 / Jim Linwood via Flickr

Dubbed “the place where the sixties began”, the island was in its heyday a legendary music venue, hosting star-studded acts such as The Rolling Stones, The Who and Pink Floyd.

But there’s more to the story than this.

Alice and co. investigate Eel Pie’s untold history, from the radical hippie commune that called Eel Pie Hotel home, to the mysterious fire that burned it down almost 50 years ago.

COMMUNE LIFE: An Eel Pie Islander warms up in the hotel. Two years later it burned down in a mysterious fire / Mark Pickthall

So how did this tiny island become the centre of the UK’s counter-culture movement? And who was responsible for the blaze that ended the Eel Pie Island Hotel’s 150 year history? 

Featuring exclusive interviews with journalist and author Andrew Humphreys and former commune members Loretta Leu, Mark Pickthall and Gavin Kilty.

Listen to London’s Puzzling Places below:

Featured image credit: Mark Pickthall

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