A Typical English Shanty/plotland Timeline

Extracted from 'Shepperton's Island Dwellers', compiled by Valerie Brooking, Sunbury and Shepperton Local History Society, June 1995

Hamhaugh Island Shepperton


"My mothers family camped at Hamhaugh during August, after the hay was mown, from 1900. On the first occasion they came in a horse drawn van containing tents, bedding, stove, provisions etc from Chelsea" p9

At this time camping was not considered be respectable.


By 1914 wooden floors and camp beds had replaced tarpaulins and bed rolls. In 1918 someone records using a folding wood and canvas bath. Sheds were used as kitchens. Until 1919 there were communal latrines.


The owner Jack Dunton decides to sell plots to the campers and around 1920 the first 'bungalow' was erected.

"Those who purchased plots gave them bizarre names 'Whyworrie' 'Weyknot' 'Watabatit'. There was a toilet in the middle of the green. A flag was hoisted when it was in use!" Joy Noble p28
"During the next twenty years bungalows became larger and more elaborate, usually by successive additions to the original shack." Winifred Scholfield p11
"Yes it's a shack on an island... No its a small island, in fact the shack is a bit small too... some people call them bungalows but shack is the word for this... its made of wood, yes wood." Daphne Silver P33

The green is bought collectively to keep as an open space.

1928 The first family to stay year around. From 1926 to 1939 a golden age of community activity. Regattas and fancy dress dances on the green.

1930s  A postal service delivers to the island.

1936 Leonard Clifton a graphic artist visiting Shepperton Studios discovers Hamhaugh island...

1938 Last use of seasonal tents. Ie the shanty community is complete.

"Life on the island was very different from suburbia. There was a community spirit which lasted for years. There were no high fences and very few locked doors. There was no gas or electricity to the houses but there was a well in the middle of the island green from which we drew our water." Hilda Shiner p31
"Although we were close to civilisation there was a feeling of remoteness and of living an ideal life." Winifred Scholfield p14

1940s Communal water pump sunk on the green

1948 Arrival of electricity. The majority of houses now become permanent homes.

1959 Mains water arrives to three stand pipes on the green.