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1895: Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, by E J Gregory -

Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory
Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory

This might be a boating safety poster Ė so many things are about to go wrong Ė bigtime!
If only E J Gregory had waited just a few more seconds Ö
Because within moments the scene would have been very different -

detail 1 from Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory

The lady cox of the skiff, bottom left, is paying more attention to her dog than to where she is going. Her left hand is no longer pulling the rudder string.† The stern of her boat therefore moves to our right, sideswiping the skiff behind her. Smashing a scull and a rollock, and unhinging her rudder.† The lady in the bows of that skiff with the umbrella, which prevents her cox from seeing where she is going, is, to be fair to her, actually keeping a lookout, but unfortunately on the wrong side.† The dog attacks her umbrella.

 

detail 2 from Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory

The punter is working hard and not looking, and nobody is looking at him to give warning, so he smashes into the sculls of the six oared skiff which is colliding with the skiff with the dog, breaking two more sculls and rollocks.

detail 3 from Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory

This distracts the stroke oarsman in the six oared skiff and he pushes out on his other scull which unfortunately is being held just inboard of the rollock by the child.† She traps her fingers between scull and rollock and screams loudly, causing nanny to say something quite emphatic.
His as yet undamaged scull hits the skiff in which the bearded man is lolling, breaking its rollock and jumping out and striking the child.
[The bearded man is said to be E J Gregory himself.]

detail 4 from Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory

The steam launch behind the punt sees the punt hitting the two skiffs ahead of it and swerves to our left, running down the keen female in the canoe, hidden under the bows.
As it swerves the steam launch forces the boat to its left, holding on with a boat hook, into the boats waiting to go up the lock.

detail 5 from Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory

As its bows swerve to our left, the stern of the steam launch moves out the other way.† The young lady on the steam launch sitting so inelegantly, with her posterior outboard, receives a considerable shock when the man with the boathook attempts to fend off the stern of the launch, but contacts instead the stern of the young lady.

detail 6 from Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory

The launch further behind swerves the other way and smashes the canoe in front of it into the stone bank.† The man standing in the bows is thrown into the water.

detail 7 from Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory

The bearded man lolling in the skiff on the right is rightly worried by the course of the skiff with the sail.† At this point it catches a puff of wind and smashes into his boat, snapping the mast and throwing the man in the bows upside down on top of him.†
He first hits him with the oar
and then falls on top of him
and then they are both smothered by canvas.
The man sitting astride behind the mast, raising the sail, is thrown onto the splintered stump of the mast and suffers as only a man can.

detail 8 from Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory

The coachman on the bridge hears the cries from the river and looks to see what is happening, steering too far to his left and crushing the back wheel of the bicycle.

detail 9 from Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory

The lock keeper says ďOh --!Ē and goes for a tea break.

As I say Ė Edward J Gregory might have been a good artist Ė but he lacked timing - if only he had waited Ė what a picture that would have made! It took him seven years to complete that painting - and he only missed by a few seconds!
 
1995: There was an attempt to recreate Gregory's picture. Obviously a great deal of work went into it and the result was very worthwhile. I print the photo and the original for comparison (though I have as yet a not very good version of the photo. CAN ANYONE SEND ME A BETTER VERSION?)
I think it succeeded admirably with the boats and costumes.

Bob Lowery is a specialist photographer who uses the very latest techniques to obtain great pictures for his clients particularly stately homes and commercial sites.
He carried out all the photography for the re-enactment of Gregoryís famous picture at Boulters Lock in 1995. (He does not have a copy.)

1995 recreation of Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory
1995 recreation of Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory

Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory
Boulter's Lock, Sunday Afternoon, 1895 by E J Gregory

'Boulters Lock, Sunday Afternoon' © David Wheldon (after seeing the above)

Boulterís Lock, Sunday afternoon, Maidenhead;
Iíve never been there myself, and anyway am too late.
A hundred years ago, or more: all in the painting
are dead. The hurry, the crowdedness within
the damp lockís walls and gates. Skiff, punt, canoe,
steam launch: all vying for the exit, down into
the broader waters of the Thames. Paintings
like this limn the lady-cox with her fingers
holding the tiller-tassels, while the male sculls
maintain her way. Maybe they got down to Bray.

1891: The Stream of Pleasure, Joseph and Elizabeth Robins Pennell -

But it was outside Boulters Lock, on the way back to Cookham, that we found the greatest crowd. There was such a mass of boats one might have thought all -
 
The men who haunt the waters,
Broad of breast and brown of hue,
All of beauty's youngest daughters,
Perched in punt or crank canoe.
 
were waiting to pass through together. But presently the lock-keeper called out,
"Keep back! There are a lot of boats coming!"
And the lock gates slowly opened and out they came, pell-mell, pushing, paddling, poling, steaming, and there was a great scrambling and bumping, and meeting of friends, and cries of
"How are you?"
"Come to dinner at eight"
"Look out where you're going!"
and brandishing of boathooks, and glaring of eyes, and savage shoutings, and frantic handshakings, and scrunching of boats, and scratching of paint, and somehow we all made our way into the lock as best we could, the lock-keeper helping the slower boats with his long boathook and fitting all in, until there was not space for one to capsize if it would. But indeed in a crowded lock if you cannot manage your own boat some one else will manage it for you; and for that matter, when there is no crowd you meet men whose only use of a boathook is to dig it into your boat as you are quietly making your way out.
Both banks were lined with people looking on, for Boulter's Lock on Sunday afternoon is one of the sights of the Thames.

1868:† Below Boulterís Lock, William Johnson Cory -

The aspen grows on the maidenís bank,
Down swoops the breeze on the bough,
Quick rose the gust, and suddenly sank,
Like wrath on my sweetheartís brow.
The tree is caught, the boat dread nought,
Sheltered and safe below;
The bank is high, and the wind runs by,
Giving us leave to row.
 
The bank was dipping†lower and lower,
Showing the glowing west,
The oar went slower, for either rower
The river was heaving her breast.
That sunset seemed to my dauntless steerer
The lifting and breaking of day,
That flush on the wave to me was dearer
Than shade on a windless way.

1906: Boulterís Lock, Ascot Sunday, Mortimer Menpes -

Boulterís Lock, Ascot Sunday, Mortimer Menpes, 1906
Boulterís Lock, Ascot Sunday, Mortimer Menpes, 1906

1906: Below Boulterís Lock, Mortimer Menpes -

Below Boulterís Lock, Mortimer Menpes, 1906
Below Boulterís Lock, Mortimer Menpes, 1906

Postcard: Below Boulterís Lock -

Postcard, Below Boulterís Lock
Postcard, Below Boulterís Lock

1913: Below Boulterís Lock, Francis Frith -

1913, Below Boulterís Lock, Francis Frith
1913, Below Boulterís Lock, Francis Frith

[ I am worried by the predicament of the nearest punt. What was she trying to do I ask? (93 years later!) She was a Cambridge punter (she is standing on the deck or till) and maybe out on a much bigger river than her home waters. (The Thames feels enormous for a punter used to the Cam and Granta). I take it she had just come down through the lock and was trying to turn to get up towards Boulter's Inn. But that steam launch appears to be reversing at speed (those are waves under its stern aren't they?) and a collision involving the punt and the skiff and the steam launch appears inevitable. ]
 
Boulters Lock, Clough W Bromley -

Boulters Lock, Clough W Bromley
Boulters Lock, Clough W Bromley

Boulters Lock, R Allan -

Boulters Lock, R Allan
Boulters Lock, R Allan

 
 
 
 
Upstream to Boulter's Restaurant




Introduction
Estuary
PLA
QEII Br
Barrier
Tower Br
Custom Ho
London Br
; Frost Fairs
Cannon St Rb
The Great Stink
Southwark Br
Millenium Br
Blackfriars Rb
Blackfriars Br
Waterloo Br
Charing Cross Rb
Westminster Br
Lambeth Br
Vauxhall Br
Victoria Rb
Chelsea Br
Albert Br
Battersea Br
Battersea Rb
Wandsworth Br
Fulham Rb
Putney Br
Hammersmith Br
Barnes Rb
Chiswick Br
Kew Rb
Kew Br
RICHMOND
Twickenham Br
Richmond Rb
Richmond Br
TEDDINGTON
Kingston Rb
Kingston Br
Ditton Slip
Hampton Br
MOLESEY
SUNBURY
Walton Br
Desborough Cut
SHEPPERTON
Chertsey Br
CHERTSEY
M3 Br
Laleham Slip
PENTON HOOK
Staines Rb
Staines Br
Runnymede Br
BELL WEIR
Magna Carta Is
OLD WINDSOR
Albert Br
Datchet
Victoria Br
Black Potts Rb
ROMNEY
Eton
Windsor Br
Windsor Rb
Windsor Slip
Elizabeth Br
BOVENEY
Dorney Lake
York Cut
Summerleaze Fb
MonkeyIsland
New Thames Br
BRAY
Bray Slip
Maidenhead Rb
Maidenhead Br
Below Boulters
BOULTERS
Cliveden
Hedsor
COOKHAM
Cookham Slip
Cookham Br
BourneEnd RFb
Quarry Woods
A404 Br
MARLOW
Marlow Br
Bisham
TEMPLE
HURLEY
Medmenham
Culham Ct
Aston Slip
HAMBLEDEN
Temple Is
Fawley Ct
Remenham
Regatta
Phyllis Ct
Henley Slip
Leander
Red Lion
Henley Br
Angel on Br
Landing
Hobbs Boatyard
Hobbs Slipway
MARSH
Hennerton
Bolney
Wargrave
Shiplake Rb
R.Loddon
SHIPLAKE
Sonning Br
SONNING
Dreadnought
K&A Canal
CAVERSHAM
Reading Br
Caversham Br
Reading Slip
Purley
MAPLEDURHAM
Hardwick Ho
Whitchurch Br
WHITCHURCH
Hartswood Reach
Gatehampton Rb
Goring Gap
Goring Br
GORING
Swan
CLEEVE
Moulsford
Moulsford Rb
Papist Way Slip
Winterbrook Br
Wallingford Br
BENSON
Shillingford Br
R.Thame
DAYS
Burcot
Clifton Hampden
Clifton Church
Clifton H Br
Barley Mow
Long Wittenham
CLIFTON
Appleford Rb
Sutton Courtenay
Sutton Br
CULHAM
Culham Cut Fb
Abingdon Slip
Abingdon
Abingdon Br
ABINGDON
Nuneham Rb
Nuneham
Nuneham Park
Radley Boats
SANDFORD
Rose Island
Kennington Rb
Isis Br
Iffley Mill
IFFLEY
Oxford Rowing
Isis
Donnington Br
Riverside Slip
Boathouses
Punting
Lower Cherwell
Upper Cherwell
Islip
Head of River
Salters Steamers
Folly Br
Bacons Folly
Oxford Fb
Osney Fb
Weir stream
Osney Rb
Bullstake Stream
Osney Marina
OSNEY
Osney Br
Four Rivers
OLD RIVER
CANAL
Medley Weir Site
Medley Fb
Bossoms
Perch
Trout
GODSTOW
Godstow Nunnery
Godstow Br
Thames Br
KINGS
River Evenlode
EYNSHAM
Swinford Br
Oxford Cruisers
PINKHILL
Farmoor
Stanton Harcourt
Bablock Slip
Arks Weir Site
NORTHMOOR
Harts Fb
//Rose Revived
Newbridge
//Maybush
River Windrush
below Shifford
SHIFFORD
Shifford Fb
Tenfoot Fb
Trout Inn
Tadpole Br
RUSHEY
Old Mans Fb
RADCOT
Radcot Cradle Fb
Swan Inn
Radcot New Br
Radcot Old Br
GRAFTON
Eaton Hastings
Kelmscott
Eaton Fb
BUSCOT
Bloomers Hole Fb
Trout Inn
St Johns Br
ST JOHNS
Halfpenny Br
Marina Slip
LIMIT
Inglesham
Hannington Br
Kempsford
Castle Eaton Br
Marston Meysey
A419 Br
Cricklade
SOURCE?
THAMES HEAD
SEVEN SPRINGS