Farmoor Reservoir Intake
Water Intake, Left bank.
1962-1967: Farmoor Reservoir phase 1 was completed (Left bank).
1995: Farmoor Reservoir development continues with the new advanced water treatment works completed in 1995. The reservoir is supplied by water from the Thames. Farmoor 2 is intended to be able to supplement the flow of the river in the summer and operates in conjunction with the sewage treatment works at Swinford. At least 135 million litres of water must pass Eynsham Lock each day. Average Farmoor/Swinford abstraction is 135 Ml/day. Current maximum output of treated water is 110Ml/d.
Site of Skinner's Weir
Right bank opposite reservoir intake - Site of Skinners Weir (also Langleys Weir ["Ware"], & Brookins Weir)
1746: Langley Weir on Griffiths map.
1761: there may have been a mill on the Right bank, here or near.
[Fred Thacker's Map shows a former Mill on the Right bank.]
On a small island, planted with fruit trees, a thatched cottage offers repose and refreshment.
1794: Langley Ware, Boydell's History of the Thames -
Langley Ware. June 1, 1793. J. Farington R.A. delt. J.C. Stadler sculpt.
(Published) by J. & J. Boydell, Shakespeare Gally. Pall Mall & (No. 90) Cheapside (London).
1860: Skinner's Weir, Henry Taunt showing Joe Skinner.
Skinner's Weir, Henry Taunt showing Joe Skinner, 1860
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT01155
This is one of the new gallows bridges which have taken the place of the old weirs.
The old weir (Skinners) was one of those
picturesque places that artists love. It
had been in the possession from father to son for a long number of years.
It was a little inn; and the last landlord, Joe Skinner,
was one of the best-hearted, quaintest fellows that ever lived.
He was original in the highest degree, and it
was a rich treat to spend an evening with him and listen to his talk of havoc
wrought among the wild ducks, with his stalking horse and tremendous duck gun,
or his curious remarks on someone who had been there, and, not
understanding him, had rubbed old Joe the wrong way of the wool,
getting perhaps a rough setting down.
This is all swept away by the march of improvement: the old cottages, the tumbledown weir, and old Joe are all gone, and the place entirely lone and deserted.
A sketch of the interior of Joe Skinner's Cottage, Taunt -
A sketch of the interior of Joe Skinner's Cottage, Taunt
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; D251567a
1859: The Royal River -
... Langley, or Ridge's Weir ... of the very simplest kind ... performs its service
independently of a lock.
The object of this simple form of weir is to dam the river to the required height
for such purposes as mill heads or navigation.
The business is accomplished by the working of flood gates or paddles in grooves, and between rymers, to the sill at the bottom.
In winter there may be a swift stream through the weirs, but, the weir paddles being withdrawn, there is very little fall.
Shooting the weir stream - one of the adventurous feats of the upper navigation - is an amusement unknown below Oxford, and at times it is not without its risks.
[See also Ark's Weir to which this passage also refers]
1876: The Fish Inn at Langleys Weir.
1880: The weir very dilapidated. In July it gave way, and its maintenance seemed of doubtful utility.
1888: from " The Thames: from Oxford to its source -
The river from Pinkhill to Skinners Weir is very winding like an eel in convulsions, according to Budd.
That worthy sailor was pulling, and, finding the work hard, suggested they should try their new towing rope.
This was done. The path was a fairly good one, so Figgis and Budd took the rope,
whilst Charlton and Martin sat in the boat, one steering,
the other ready with the boathook to shove off when necessary.
Towing on the Upper Thames is not the simple work it is lower down. Pollard willows are not infrequent along the path, and it is aggravating to have to pass the rope around these; you lose way, time, and sometimes temper.
Cuttings and ditches have sometimes to be jumped over. When this is the case, be sure to give yourself plenty of rope before beginning to jump, or you will end your leap in the ditch. Then the very sudden curves of the river necessitate a great length of line, as the banks are sometimes marshy. Often the tower is pulling at right angles to the boat, which is very hard work. Still, it is advisable to tow sometimes; it is a change, and is often the best mode of progression. Let your towmast be a high one.
The path to Ridges Weir is fairly good. Farther on, as we shall have occasion to point out, the path can only be discerned by the mental eye. Up to Lechlade towing is fairly practicable.
After that ---
Skinner's Weir is a quaint, picturesque old place. The old inn, kept by the Skinners for generations, had a certain sort of celebrity, but recently it has been pulled down.
1920: Fred Thatcher -
A white footbridge now crosses the narrow neck of water streaming and dimpling over the old weir site. The pool is perhaps the finest and broadest above Oxford; and was for long an important reservoir for flashes. At its lower end is the little heart shaped island, with a tiny laybye at its head facing the bridge. I saw nothing on it but a heap of gravel and a tree or two not of the orchard variety. Only the LEFT bank channel is now easily navigable: a modern cut made or improved 1896-1899. The house and mill and fruit trees are all gone; but the downstream view from the bridge, on a clear sunlit morning, across the island to Wytham and Beacon Hills, is an abiding and refreshing joy to the memory.
Site of former Skinner's Bridge
Skinner's Bridge is shown on Fred Thacker's map. I think Fred implies that the
former bridge was on the site of the former weir.
Mollie Harris says this bridge 'disappeared when some over-enthusiastic Oxford undergraduates burned it down.'