WHITCHURCH BRIDGE

Pangbourne Slipway

There are two slipways below Whitchurch Lock near Whitchurch Bridge, (there is no access for launching at Whitchurch Lock):
On the Left bank (Pangbourne, south side) in Ferry Lane beside the Boathouse medical practice, opposite the Dolphin Adventure centre.

Pangbourne Slipway
Pangbourne, Ferry Lane, Slipway

Ferry Lane being the termination point of the ferry prior to the building of the bridge. The advantage of this slip is that there is parking available in the nearby public car parks. The disadvantage of this Pangbourne slip is that the stream from the weir runs near the bank making launching of longer boats such as skiffs a little difficult.

Whitchurch Slipway

Whitchurch Slipway:

Whitchurch Slipway
Whitchurch Slipway

On the Right bank (Whitchurch, north side) a slip into the mill pond which has less stream, but no nearby parking. This slip is beside the toll house. Once launched, there are nearby steps for embarkation, (via a passageway separated by railings from the rest of The Mill House garden and marked with footpath signs).
Both the Weir pool and the Mill pool are private with no fishing or mooring.

The original (1792) company still runs the bridge and has a website!
Before 1792:  A ferry

The south branch of the Ridgeway drops down to the Thames at Pangbourne and was one of the earliest crossing places into Oxfordshire, first by ferry and later by bridge. The ferry operated from the road running past the George Inn down to the river (now known as Ferry Lane) and ran across to the mill at Whitchurch, where passengers would then walk along the grounds to the bridge over the mill race to Mill Lane.

1792:  “The Company of Proprietors of Whitchurch Bridge” built a timber bridge.
1792: Plan for Whitchurch Bridge -

Whitchurch Bridge 1792
Plan for Whitchurch Bridge, 1792

1792: 12th November, The Reading Mercury -

We have the pleasure of assuring the public that the bridge over the River Thames between Pangbourn and Whitchurch is open for the accommodation of horse and foot passengers and all sorts of cattle. It is necessary for a few weeks to refuse passage to loaded carriages, on account of the late wet season, till the roads and avenues to the same are somewhat more firm and settled.

1805: The first Whitchurch Bridge -

Whitchurch Bridge 1805
The first Whitchurch Bridge in 1805
© Copyright The Company of Proprietors of Whitchurch Bridge 2005

1843:-

A neat and light bridge of oak, erected in 1793, with a balustrade on each side.

1852:  The second wooden bridge (above) was built late 1852 and completed in spring 1853 and was similar to the earlier one but was less steep and had only half the number of piers, the balustrade was perpendicular with a criss cross fence somewhat like the present one but simpler, and with no central ornaments. There was a wide gate across the road from the toll-house porch door.

Second Whitchurch Bridge, painting by Claude Rowbotham -

Whitchurch Bridge, Claude Rowbotham
Second Whitchurch Bridge painted by Claude Rowbotham

1871: The Second Whitchurch Bridge -

Whitchurch Bridge, 1871
The Second Whitchurch Bridge in about 1871

1874: Whitchurch Bridge, Henry Taunt -

Whitchurch Bridge, Henry Taunt, 1874
Whitchurch Bridge, Henry Taunt, 1874
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT1354

1881: Leslie –

The bridge which unites Pangbourne with Whitchurch is of wood, and I am happy to state in good repair.

[ George Leslie only has to say something like that and the item is doomed! It was replaced in 1902. ]
1893:  Pangbourne Bridge (the second Whitchurch Bridge) -

1893:  Pangbourne Bridge
1893:  Pangbourne Bridge

1902:   Latticed iron bridge was designed by Joseph Morris and built by the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company Ltd. 
[ This, third bridge, looks quite similar to the 1852 second bridge but with even fewer piers. ]

1902 Third Whitchurch Bridge Plan
Plan for Third Whitchurch Bridge in 1902.

1902: Whitchurch Bridge, James Dredge -

Whitchurch Bridge, James Dredge, 1902
Whitchurch Bridge, James Dredge, 1902
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; D212010a

1929: A Thames Survey -

Whitchurch Bridge, replacing the second timber one built 1840, dates from 1901 and is constructed of compound girders supported by three pairs of iron columns with iron lattice balustrades.
Toll payable at toll-house on Oxfordshire side

1999: Whitchurch Bridge –

Whitchurch Bridge 1999
Whitchurch Bridge in 1999

The 1902 Bridge closed for reconstruction on 3rd October 2013, and a totally new bridge re-opened on 19th September 2014. The dimensions and visual appearance of the reconstructed Bridge are similar to the 1902 Bridge

2005: The third (1902) Whitchurch Bridge by Doug Myers -

Whitchurch Bridge, Doug Myers © 2005
Whitchurch Bridge (1902), Doug Myers © 2005

Aerial view Whitchurch Bridge
Whitchurch Bridge