Friday, 2 September 2016

Riverside north bank, west of the Tower. Eton Cuckoo Weir.


This posting shows sites north of the river only.  South of the river is Clewer

Post to the east Windsor, riverside and castle and Eton
Post to the west Boveney Lock and Windsor Racecourse

A332
This main road is a dual-carriageway  built as the Windsor and Eton relief road in 1966 and officially named Royal Windsor Way in 2012. The road crosses the Thames here and is effectively a Windsor Bypass having been diverted from Windsor Bridge which closed in 1977 onto the current Elizabeth Bridge  on to Eton and beyond northwards


Athens
Athens. Riverside bathing place for Eton boys.  This was a bathing place where Eton College boys were taught to swim. It was once owned by the Crown, but in 1917 it was purchased from them and presented to the College as a memorial to a boy who had been killed in a flying accident.
Stone with an inscription which reads: "This bathing place of Athens was presented to Eton College by Hiatt C. Baker in memory of his son John Lionel Baker a brilliant swimmer who spent here many of the happiest hours of his boyhood." On the other side it says “On the side of the stone facing the river the inscription reads: "Bathing regulations at Athens - Fifth Form Nants in First Hundred and Upper and Middle Divisions may bathe at Athens. No bathing at Athens on Sundays after 8.30 a.m. At Athens, boys who are undressed must either get at once into the water or get behind screens when boats containing ladies come in sight. Boys when bathing are not allowed to land on the Windsor Bank or to swim out to launches and barges or to hang onto, or interfere with, boats of any kind.  Any boy breaking this rule will be severely punished. From 'School Rules of the River.' 1921"


Cuckoo Weir and Cuckoo Weir Island
Cuckoo Weir Stream is a backwater that runs under Queen Elizabeth Bridge, and it no longer contains a weir. It was built to power a pre-dissolution water-mill belonging to Burnham Abbey.  It joins the river just before the Railway Bridge.  At one time it was considered as a site for a lock
Eton College constructed four swimming places on the river.  Cuckoo Weir here was for the younger boys. It was screened by a fence and a mound of earth.
Swan Lifeline. This is the oldest registered charity for the care of sick and injured swans in the Thames Valley. It was founded in 1986 by people who had been involved with swan rescue in Windsor. In 1992 Eton College offered the lease of Cuckoo Weir Island free of charge and the charity then built a treatment centre and outside pens.
Eton Old Bird Sanctuary. Eton boys started this nature reserve in 1934 on the site of old osier beds.  It is alongside the towpath east of the Windsor Relief Road. It was set up by the College Natural History Society. The boys dug a pond and drew up a list of birds with details of nests and hatching and habitats. There was little interest in the 1970s and it is only since about 2000 that efforts have been made to conserve the area and conduct surveys. Recent surveys show that the number of bird species has declined. There are two very rare snails and many moths including one nationally rare species,
Humane Swimming Baths. The Royal Humane Society was set up in 1774 with the aim of preventing deaths through drowning. To this end they began to encourage swimming and learning to swim.  The Eton and Windsor Humane Society Swimming Club was set up in 1835 as one of the earliest.  This swimming place seems to have persisted and is still marked on maps of the 1950s.


Long Bridge
The Long Bridge or “Chinese Bridge” crosses the entrance to the Cuckoo Weir stream.

Sources
Eton Community Web site
French Brothers. Web site
Hung out to Dry. Web site
SABRE Roaders Digest.
South East Swimming. Web site
Swan Lifeline. Web site
Wikipedia. Romney Lock. Web site

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