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Author Topic: Permissive path - Purley / Pangbourne AND Access bridges to farms and fields  (Read 4276 times)
Reading General
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« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2020, 04:34:42 pm »

I'm sure one of the maps I've seen shows the 'cutting' down to subway on the southern side but I can't get the Old Maps website to work properly at the moment. Perhaps it wasn't on there, I do wish I would learn make a note of things when I discover information. I certainly remember having a quick look a couple of years back, convinced that there would be evidence but I'm not sure where I got the idea from.
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Reading General
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« Reply #31 on: April 03, 2020, 04:50:10 pm »

Next to the site of the subway, on the southern side, I believe there was a patch of land owned by the Corporation that was to have become the site of a trolleybus turning circle discussed and planned before and after World War two. What might have been always interests me too.
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stuving
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« Reply #32 on: April 03, 2020, 06:08:57 pm »

Did you see that the 1:2500 map of 1879 (or maybe the next one, it's hard to be sure) shows the path running north-westwards to the road, parallel to the boundary line, as rising on an embankment? That's not compatible with the current topography either. And the 6" 1879 map on nls (and some others) have the word "End." (I think) where the boundary crosses the road ... though it's not the end of anything as far as I can see.

Amazing how much there is to think about in maps of a tiny bit of nowhere in particular, isn't it?
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Reading General
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« Reply #33 on: April 03, 2020, 07:45:53 pm »

That's it, that's the one I saw. It's finally loaded. It looks to me like it's dropping into a cutting but yes, without the lines either side, faded or missing it suggests an embankment too. It's just over the boundary and today, it looks like a house might be on that site now. Does anybody fancy sticking their head into the bushes beside the house to have a look? Grin
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Marlburian
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« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2020, 08:53:54 pm »

Anyone in the locality might also like to stroll around the old towing path - still a right-of-way - to where it ends at Roebuck Ferry Cottage., just to if there's evidence of the subway there (as per my theory above that it might have a long time ago serviced the ferry). I did go up that way decades ago and recall it was a narrow path with tall vegetation of its southerly side.

One can gauge here the height from the towing pat h to Oxford Road.

Come to think of it, the subway might have been designed to enable stores to be delivered  to the cottage. As far as I can make out, the only access is along that path or by  boat.

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I have just emailed Project Purley, inviting its comments on our deliberations.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 09:03:25 pm by Marlburian » Logged
stuving
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« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2020, 10:17:45 pm »

That's it, that's the one I saw. It's finally loaded. It looks to me like it's dropping into a cutting but yes, without the lines either side, faded or missing it suggests an embankment too. It's just over the boundary and today, it looks like a house might be on that site now. Does anybody fancy sticking their head into the bushes beside the house to have a look? Grin

If you look at the old Street View pictures on Google Maps, there's one where the vegetation alongside Oxford Road has been hacked right back. That reveals two gate posts, and what could be a gate, just where I reckon that track would come out. It's roughly halfway between the boundary line and the drive into what was than a bungalow miles back from the road (and has since, with its neighbour, been replaced by a small suburb).

You can't see any further than the rising ground immediately next to the fence, so it may or may not dip down behind that. But nothing on the maps, nor Google Earth's terrain heights, suggests it does - apart from that "subway" label!
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Reading General
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« Reply #36 on: April 03, 2020, 11:32:18 pm »

I just took a look at that, I had no idea about that feature, thanks. The gate is immediately to the west of the line on the road where the tarmac changes (normally a good indication of a boundary in modern times) so I would agree and say that this was that path and that the space to the east inside the boundary is the potential trolley terminus site.  . Zooming in and the path space behind looks to be slightly lower than the surrounding land but not that deep, filled to a point perhaps if it was a subway. This gives a good indication of where the opposite side of the subway (if it existed) was. I might take a look next week as to what I can see to the west of the pillbox.

Additional: The old maps site has started working for me. The 1967 1:2.500 map for that area shows the tunnel under the railway from Purley Park to the Church in greater detail plus a track across the site of the marina. What looked like a wall on other maps is marked as a drain on this one. The piece of wasteland where the potential subway was is shown and the boundary doesn't run along the edge of this land it runs through the middle suggesting that quite possibly this site still hasn't been built on. I think that gate is still there amongst those bushes. Time will tell.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 12:04:28 am by Reading General » Logged
Marlburian
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« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2020, 12:30:23 pm »

Regarding the proposed trolley turning point, I did wonder whether there was any significance in the area the other side of the road to the Roebuck (now hard standing that used to have a couple of cars parked on it) and the triangular piece of ground by the pillbox, recently re-surfaced and marked out for formal parking. Between them, these areas might have provided a turning circle.

Overnight I realised a weakness in my theory that the subway might have served the ferry. Certainly a tunnel might have been started at river level, but there was no exit for it the other side of Oxford Road - unless it went up a steep ramp.

But why was access needed under the road? Even today outside the rush hours, I can walk down Elsley Road and cross over to the Roebuck without problem. A hundred and fifty years ago, there would have been far less traffic and what there was would have moved at three to four mph.

And "subway"? My idea of a subway is the one underneath the platforms at Reading Station, quite long and deep. What made the crossing under the road by the Roebuck a subway, as distinct from an underbridge?
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Reading General
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« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2020, 12:45:25 pm »

The Reading Trolleybuses book (which I've lent to someone and can't fetch unfortunately) definitely states that the potential turning circle site was questioned post war as to how safe it would be on a bend in the road.

The subway certainly is a good mystery. Are other subways marked the same elsewhere on maps of the same era?
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stuving
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« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2020, 12:58:38 pm »

The subway certainly is a good mystery. Are other subways marked the same elsewhere on maps of the same era?

A small tunnel or underbridge, for pedestrians only, I have seen marked as "underpass" more than once before, presumably it's the first meaning of that word. "Subway" I don't think I've seen elsewhere.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2020, 01:25:49 pm »

Yes, the pillbox is still, part of the WWII "stop" line. Very narrow apertures, and I did wonder at how these were angled. And a bit of a drop on to the railway should its occupants decide that discretion was the better part of valour!
Totally OT but it's said, I don't know how correctly, that many of those pillboxes were built as much for morale boosting and keeping people occupied as for genuine defensive ability. Certainly there is a stretch of the Foss Way south of Cirencester where some pill boxes face SE and some NW (all are on the SE side of the Way which at this point is a byway or minor road).
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Tuesday had come down through Dundrum and Foster Avenue, brine-fresh from sea-travel, a corn-yellow sun-drench that called forth the bees at an incustomary hour to their bumbling.
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« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2020, 02:38:13 pm »

Maybe this plan shows the pre-turnpike road/path to be repurposed as the Thames path through Purley. It also illustrates well what I believe the triangle of land being discussed as the (then) potential trolley bus circle.
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Marlburian
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« Reply #42 on: April 04, 2020, 02:53:58 pm »

Nice plan, though the spot for the turning-circle that I had in mind was further down the road, much closer to the hotel. (I'm happy for this idea to be pooh-poohed.) Interesting to see that a tiny square marks the pillbox!

I had been thinking of exploring Roebuck Rise for any signs, but your plan shows that this would be fruitless. I'm conscious that now is not a good time to be wandering around close to people's houses looking for clues.

Just had a nice acknowledgment from Project Purley: "yes we have lots of info on the access bridges between Tilehurst and Pangbourne - will read your thread and respond to you in due course".. He's got a lot to work though! Perhaps some of our findings will add to the Project's own database.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 03:12:36 pm by Marlburian » Logged
eightonedee
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« Reply #43 on: April 04, 2020, 03:49:45 pm »

I was unaware that there was ever a proposal to run trolleybuses to the Roebuck and turn them there (although this would be entirely consistent with Reading Corporation Transport's old habit of naming fare stages after pubs, and staring and ending routes at them!). Presumably this would have been instead of running the old number 18 up Kentwood Hill?
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Reading General
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« Reply #44 on: April 04, 2020, 04:30:11 pm »

Reading Corporation generally planned to run trolleybuses along every major road to the borough boundary. The earliest trolley destination blinds had Horncastle, Shinfield Road and Donkin Hill on I think. The post war plan was to replace the trams and every motorbus route bar those that had to go under the Southern Railway bridge on Vastern Road, even though a route under there was the earliest planned and running powers obtained during the tramway era. The original plan to reach the Roebuck was to run a terminal loop via Carlisle Road, Clevedon Road and Elsley Road to Oxford Road. This was granted powers too but I believe required road improvements like kerbstones and pavements before they would be run along those roads, things that still don't exist today. The next plan was a turning circle and I think Arthur Newbery, a local landowner who has a park named after him, donated a section of land to the corporation believed to be opposite the Roebuck. War broke out before the trolley route was constructed. During the war, convincing the war department that it would save on petrol, the plan to reach the Roebuck, to extend those trolleys turning at Norcot Junction, was resurrected by the Corporation. At some point in the 30's the roundabout was constructed at the junction of Kentwood Hill and Oxford road and this provided a natural but short of the target turning point. The route opened during the war in about 1943/44 I think. After the war it was debated again to reach the Roebuck as the people of Purley actually petitioned it but I think powers had lapsed. The Corporation estate at Rodway Road was built in the early 50's and running the bus up Kentwood hill to a turning circle halfway up near the estate was chosen instead. The turning circle and some traction poles remain on Kentwood Hill, however not only has the high frequency electric service gone but no bus service whatsoever passes this point. I think I was among the last drivers to ever turn a bus in this turning circle, for only a handful of early morning journeys used this terminus when I started at Reading Transport. About 2003/4 I would say was the last time it was used.

Hugely off topic but there you go.
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