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This section in The Stripling Thames by Fred Thacker

Fred Thacker's Map, 1920
Fred Thacker's Map, 1920

Above Osney Bridge there are allotments on the right bank.  They do not have much respect for the river.
On the left bank a warehouse and then houses. This is what (as a Cambridge man) I call the Oxford Backs. (More backside than backs!)  The houses turn their back on the river and are more concerned with their security from flood, or more man made  intrusion, than to appreciate the river.

Oxford and Cambridge, A Comparison. Smithfield Waterstone -

Cambridge has espoused the river, has opened its arms to the river, has built some of its finest houses alongside the river. Oxford has turned its back on the river, for only at some points downstream from Folly Bridge does the Isis glitter so gloriously as does the Cam.

But then the river widens into a unique feature, a waterways cross road –

Four Rivers (the Oxford Backs!)
Four Rivers (the Oxford Backs!)

A WATERWAYS CROSS ROAD -
 
EAST: under the footbridge is a cut leading to a three way junction:
                north west to the Isis Lock onto the Oxford Canal;
                also north west to a very shallow (5 inches) and low headroom (24 inches) stream to Medley;
                and south east, the old course of the River through Oxford (Oxford Castle).
   
WEST: On the right bank (behind the camera in the photo above) is a weir stream, unnavigable. Here was a bathing place at the tumbling weir.
 
SOUTH: Downstream (to the right in the photo) is the main stream towards Osney Bridge and Lock.
 
NORTH: Upstream (to the left in the above photo) is the modern navigation cut towards Port Meadow and Godstow lock.  
 
1893: Ravenstein, The Oarsman’s and Angler’s map -

A branch stream leads to the Oxford canal, by which, for a small sum, steam launches and other craft up to 7ft beam may reach the Thames again above King’s Weir, avoiding the intervening difficulties of the river.

[ i.e. The reach above what is now Kings Lock, avoiding Medley Weir and King’s Weir, both flash weirs in 1893. ]
1909: The Stripling Thames, Fred Thacker

At Four Streams, up a little side water on the right bank, is the local bathing place, where the ferryman is often busy with his regulation load of a dozen small boys;
and here, too, a bystream on the left bank leads to the little lock by which the Oxford and Coventry Canal enters the River.
...
And now the banks finally clear themselves from the dwellings, and become breezy and open. It is sweet here in June with buttercups and the flower of the grass, with yellow iris and great clumps of upstanding dock.
Beyond the raised towpath Fiddler's Island Stream saunters leisurely down, forming the boundary of allotment gardens and of the northwestern skirts of the city.

Straight on upstream the next section is much more tree lined than it obviously was in 1906. It enables you to recover from the temporary urban setting and remind you that the Thames is essentially a rural river.  But it still feels like an artificial cut - which it probably is.

 
Skip Old River and go on upstream to Medley
 
 
 
 
(Old Stream to Isis Lock and Oxford and Medley)




 







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