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This section in The Stripling Thames by Fred Thacker

"Osney" is locally pronounced "OWES KNEE"

1909: The Stripling Thames, Fred Thacker -

The next land [ above George Island on the left bank, your right going upstream, ] is Osney, an oval island very little less than a mile long, and about a third of a mile wide at its broadest part, containing both the railway stations of Oxford.
The second bridge is that of the Great Western Railway, which running north cuts Osney lengthwise into two unequal parts.

1850
 
1887, a second bridge within a foot or so of the first.
 
1920: Great Western Railway Bridge, Henry W Taunt -

Great Western Railway Bridge, Henry W Taunt, 1920
Great Western Railway Bridge, Henry W Taunt, 1920
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT12250

Bullstake Stream (or Pot Stream)

Above this point through to Medley Bridge above Osney Lock we are on what is probably an artificial cut made by the Monks of Osney – and if at times it feels like a back door to Oxford that might be because that is precisely what it is.  It was the trade entrance – and the front door was the old stream to Castle Mills.

Right bank

Boney’s Bridge (right bank towpath bridge)

Right bank over Bullstake Stream

Actually there is some debate as to which is Boney's Bridge:

Unless someone can show me otherwise I shall continue to think that this towpath bridge was originally called Boney's - before the railway came.
(The name may refer to Napoleon Buonaparte).
My guess (and it is only a guess) is that this towpath bridge collapsed in around 1809, just when news of Bonaparte's defeat due to a collapsed bridge was the news of the moment. Local humour then began to call the footbridge "Boney's" -

ENGLISH CARICATURE AND SATIRE ON NAPOLEON I by John Ashton -

... One incident in this campaign was seized upon by the caricaturist. There had been much fighting about Aspern and Essling, with pretty equal fortune, until the destruction of a bridge, caused by a sudden rise of the Danube, which brought down timber rafts, barges, &c., deprived Napoleon of all the advantage he had gained, and compelled him to retreat to the island of Lobau.

There is a caricature by Rowlandson (June 12, 1809) of 'Boney's Broken Bridge'. An aged general, cocked-hat in hand, is thus addressing Napoleon:
'With all due deference to your little Majesty — It was the Austrian Fire-boats that destroyed the Bridge.'
Napoleon, however, turns on him savagely, and, pointing to the broken bridge, says,
'Ah! who is it that dares contradict me, I say it was some floating timber, and the high swell of the river that caused the Shocking Accident.'

The Austrian army, on the opposite bank, are singing a paraphrase of 'London bridge is broken down' : —

Boney's Bridge is broken down,
Dance over the Lady Lea —
Boney's Bridge is broken down,
By an Arch Duke — ee.

Fred Thacker (The Thames Highway, Vol 2 p.115) says -

In November [1811] three horse bridges were to be built as soon as possible over "three long and dangerous fords" which interrupted the towpath between [Osney Lock] and Folly Bridge

These "fords" probably included a crossing where the footbridge now stands. So there is evidence at least that the towpath bridge was rebuilt at the right moment to coroborate the above guess.

Fred Thacker also says that "the bridge over the Pot Stream was rebuilt in 1850". This would have been to facilitate the building of the railway bridge in that year. Somehow it seems the railway bridge then took over the name Boney's Bridge at least for a few years at the end of the nineteenth century.

In evidence for that takeover I can offer:

Early Recollections of Oxford by Stephen Quelch, 1900 -

I occasionally take a walk from the New road to Folly Bridge, and about half-way round is Boney’s Bridge, crossing the stream that leads to Ferry Hincksey …

Also A register of the presidents, fellows, demies, instructors in grammar ... Page 381 -

They had arrived at the iron-bridge in course of construction for the railway over the Isis, close by Boney's bridge, when they heard a cry from Prentice, one of the party, who had preceded them down the river in a skiff, and they found that, in taking the arch, his skiff had got entangled with the piles of the bridge …

And Oxford Civic Society website photos identify the footbridge as Boney’s Bridge.

Osney Railway Bridges
Osney Railway Bridges & Boney's, Bullstake Stream footbridge, in 1999.

The Obelisk (visible in the photo above between the pedestrians on the footbridge and the life ring) on the riverbank by Boney’s Bridge near Osney Railway Bridge, commemorates the bravery of 21 year old Edgar Wilson. Edgar, an assistant at Luffs the Chemist on Cornmarket, was returning from lunch at his home on Abbey Road, when he came across two boys, who, while fishing, had fallen into the river.  Although a poor swimmer, he jumped in and saved them. He was immediately in difficulties himself. Two young men in a boat tried to reach him, to no avail. When Edgar’s body was recovered, it was found that a fishing line, presumably that of one of the boys, had wrapped several times around his right wrist and his arm was pinned to his trousers by the fish hook. Already exhausted, he had gone under with this extra handicap.

The obelisk has a website of its own.

The Inquest report has the strongest evidence for the railway bridge being called Boney's -

On Wednesday afternoon last a most deplorable fatality happened on the River Isis at Boney’s Bridge, about mid way between Osney and Folly Bridge ...

shortly after two o’clock Mr. Edgar George Wilson, ... chose the waterside viâ Osney to St. Aldate’s as his walk. When near the foot-bridge which spans Hincksey Stream, at its junction with the main river near Boney’s Bridge, he saw two boys ... in the water, and perceiving their imminent danger, he at once plunged in without removing any of his clothing, and after some difficulty succeeded in rescuing them. He then must have been exhausted, or have fainted, for he was seen to sink by two young men who were close by in a boat, and was apparently unable to save himself ...

Osney Railway Bridges, Doug Myers © 2005
Osney Railway Bridges & Bullstake Stream footbridge, Doug Myers © 2005

 
 
 
 
Bullstake Stream, Unpowered boats only.

 
 

 
 
(Upstream to Osney Marina)




 







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
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