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Author Topic: Permissive path - Purley / Pangbourne AND Access bridges to farms and fields  (Read 2933 times)
Oxonhutch
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« Reply #75 on: April 08, 2020, 10:11:27 am »

Three Purley Tunnels

For those who were as confused as I, here is the 6" map of 1897 from the National Library of Scotland's excellent mapping site. On the image below, I have annotated these: 1 is the tunnel under the railway, 2 is the tunnel under the old turnpike west of the lodge and, 3 is the 'subway' under the turnpike close to the Roebuck Hotel
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stuving
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« Reply #76 on: April 08, 2020, 10:51:27 am »

Three Purley Tunnels

For those who were as confused as I, here is the 6" map of 1897 from the National Library of Scotland's excellent mapping site. On the image below, I have annotated these: 1 is the tunnel under the railway, 2 is the tunnel under the old turnpike west of the lodge and, 3 is the 'subway' under the turnpike close to the Roebuck Hotel

If you look closely at the road/path coming out of tunnel 2 to the north, a compressed version of the staircase is visible.
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Marlburian
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« Reply #77 on: April 08, 2020, 10:55:08 am »

... The 1934 6" OS map shows the path via the eastern underpass ... with stairs down on the north side! So either that was built for walking or, perhaps, found to be too steep like the putative western one. And that hairpin bend suggests that there never was a carriage road from the gatehouse via the eastern tunnel...

I had hoped that a night's sleep might have helped my thought processes, but no ... By "eastern underpass" I take it that you mean the subway by the Roebuck? On your 1934 6in map - and on the 1934 25in map - I can see no evidence of that subway (which appears to have been marked only on 19th-century maps) and none of "stairs down on the north side".

EDIT, having read Stuving's post: Yes, his annotated map does help. My only other observation at this stage is that early 20th-century maps do not show a track emerging on the southern side

I've just look at more old photographs of the Roebuck and this one c1900 shows NO footbridge - just steps leading down to the railway. (Scrfoll down through other photos.) Looking at maps (yet again!), it would appear that the bridge was built in the 1890s. Both it and the subway appear on this 1897 map.

I'm now suggesting that there was a subway under the railway , not under the road, and that this was superseded by the bridge. When I was down there last Sunday, I saw no evidence of any portal on the railway embankment, but after 120 years ... But I'm not convinced ... Undecided

(Just about to post this when Stuving beat me to it. Rather than risk losing my latest composition, I'm going to complete my post and read his.)

EDIT, after reading his post. Yes, that annotated map does help. My only other observation is that on early 20th-century maps the tracks serving Tunnel Two by the Lodge seem far less defined - indeed sometimes not shown at all - yet I have a vague feeling that some of the recollections taken from the Purley Project refer to the tunnel still being used in mid-century.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 01:16:33 pm by Marlburian » Logged
stuving
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« Reply #78 on: April 08, 2020, 12:21:00 pm »

... The 1934 6" OS map shows the path via the eastern underpass ... with stairs down on the north side! So either that was built for walking or, perhaps, found to be too steep like the putative western one. And that hairpin bend suggests that there never was a carriage road from the gatehouse via the eastern tunnel...

I had hoped that a night's sleep might have helped my thought processes, but no ... By "eastern underpass" I take it that you mean the subway by the Roebuck? On your 1934 6in map - and on the 1934 25in map - I can see no evidence of that subway (which appears to have been marked only on 19th-century maps) and none of "stairs down on the north side".

Maybe I should have stopped last night too - apologies for time wasted by my wild-goose-loosing mistake there: it should of course have been the western underpass.
Quote

EDIT, having read Stuving's post: Yes, his annotated map does help. My only other observation at this stage is that early 20th-century maps do not show a track emegering on the southern side

I've just look at more old photographs of the Roebuck and this one c1900 shows NO footbridge - just steps leading down to the railway. Looking at maps (yet again!), it would appear that the bridge was built in the 1890s. Both it and the subway appear on this 1897 map.
The link to that photo has gone missing, so I can't comment. But there's an older map I shall have another look at...

Quote

I'm now suggesting that there was a subway under the railway , not under the road, and that this was superseded by the bridge. When I was down there last Sunday, I saw no evidence of any portal on the railway embankment, but after 120 years ... But I'm not convinced ... Undecided

(Just about to post this when Stuving beat me to it. Rather than risk losing my latest composition, I'm going to complete my post and read his.)

EDIT, after reading his post. Yes, that annotated map does help. My only other observation is that on early 20th-century maps the tracks serving Tunnel Two by the Lodge seem far less defined - indeed sometimes not shown at all - yet I have a vague feeling that some of the recollections taken from the Purley Project refer to the tunnel still being used in mid-century.

I'd agree the internal roads suggest none of the underpasses was used for carriages, and several changes happened. Not all of those would have been updated by the OS promptly, since this was on private land so not the highest priority.
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Marlburian
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« Reply #79 on: April 08, 2020, 01:23:06 pm »

Sorry, I normally check my links after posting, but I was already challenged enough flipping backwards and forwards between half-a-dozen maps. As it happens, the duff link was just to one photo, the 1900 one, but the amended one now leads to a number of cards of the hotel, a couple showing the steps down to the original bridge. (Scroll down.)

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Marlburian
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« Reply #80 on: April 08, 2020, 01:55:53 pm »

I've just had this excellent summary of "Cross railway access Tilehurst to Pangbourne" from Project Purley.

"As well as connecting with the towpath which carried on along the south bank to Reading there was a need to get to the Roebuck Inn on the Oxford Road. The GWR achieved this by building an iron bridge which remains in use today. To the south of the Oxford Road the route formed the boundary between Purley and Tilehurst Parishes. To the north of the Oxford Road this was a steep drop down to the river and there could well have been a tunnel to flatten the drop through the landmass which formed the banks of the river, but we have no evidence one way or the other."

"When Purley Park was constructed around 1800 the turnpike (Oxford Road) was diverted southwards. The lodge gates were built on the south side and a route was set up which passed between the Lodges, wound around land to the south and then crossed the Oxford Road by a tunnel just west of the lodges, This was superseded by a set of gates on the north side a few years later but the tunnel remained in use for another hundred years. It was used as the bomb shelter in WW2. When the Knowsley Road roundabout was constructed and a short section of the Oxford Road diverted, the tunnel was sealed off and there is no trace of it today."
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Reading General
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« Reply #81 on: April 08, 2020, 02:37:22 pm »

Great bit of digging, well done chaps.

If the subway by the Roebuck only appears marked on 19th century maps, do you think it's possible demise and the topography changing might have had something to do with quadrupling the line between Reading and Didcot?

I've just had this excellent summary of "Cross railway access Tilehurst to Pangbourne" from Project Purley.

To the south of the Oxford Road the route formed the boundary between Purley and Tilehurst Parishes.

Is this talking about the path leading to the Roebuck subway? As today the land with the gateposts to the south of the road is divided by the boundary rather than the edge of the land being the boundary. This suggests its following, or followed a path.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #82 on: April 08, 2020, 04:02:50 pm »

Following Stuving's comments, I have no idea how unusual it was. Certainly common enough in Suffolk to be the source of Constable's painting, where the horse is fully harnessed.

https://www.wikiart.org/en/john-constable/the-white-horse-1819

“The barge (or lighter) at the left has just taken on board the horse from the towpath on the right bank, and is setting up to go downstream to a spot where the path resumes on the opposite bank.”

Source: Lyles, A.(ed), Constable The Great Landscapes (Tate Publishing – 2006)

In relation to the Thames it might be useful, when we are released, to investigate the Thames Conservancy records which are conveniently located at the Berkshire Record Office https://www.berkshirerecordoffice.org.uk/berkshires-past/river-thames The Thames Conservancy (and the Navigation Commissioners before them) were responsible for the tow paths.

At the time Daniel Defoe wrote about the traffic on the River Thames (c. 1774) goods were carried in “Western Barges” which were both sail and horse powered. These are different from the better know “Thames Barges” used on the lower reaches of the Thames.


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stuving
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« Reply #83 on: April 08, 2020, 05:29:05 pm »

Here's vignettes from a couple of old OS 1" maps.

The first is from the Cassini "Old Series" map matching Landranger sheet 175. (This is the same as the source of the smaller, fuzzier, map in Project Purley I cited earlier.) It's a collage of various maps dated 1816-1830, scaled up to 1:50,000.

The second is from David & Charles's series of reprints of the first edition, sheet 70 (originally Sheet 13 "Oxford".) This was nominally 1891, but for railway updates only. The notes say the original plate was little revised otherwise, though urban areas would no doubt have had roads and buildings added too. It was reprinted a little smaller than 1:63,360, but I've tried to make them match as closely as I can.

You can see that these maps really didn't get updated much at all, except where a railway was built - and around there other changes would be made too. Elsewhere, even what the large scale plans now showed wasn't added. Those plans visibly do change in even small details, but I would still say that a feature that persists on the map didn't always do so on the ground. That is inevitably more true on private property, where no doubt surveyors would need to negotiate access.

So the older map show a path of some kind from the Roebuck down the scarp to the towpath. it also shows that new track curving towards the church from the south, but apparently no longer from the "gap" in the scarp where it went before Purley Park was closed off. Instead, it comes from an enclosure with a building in it, of which I can see no sign in the plans.

No drives are shown within Purley Copse, but the trees that line the avenue running south-east and then turning left to near the Roebuck is shown. All of the land-form, park, and tree details remain later, but that proves nothing. The railway is put in much to far from the river, and I imagine on its true line it take out that mysterious enclosure.The main drive up to the Storrers' house is shown in both as from opposite the gatehouse.
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Marlburian
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« Reply #84 on: April 08, 2020, 06:44:23 pm »

...
Then I walked along the path through Skerritt Wood and noted that the ground there was some 12 feet above the top of the cutting. I wondered if soil from the cutting had been dumped there.

If that path followed the route of Oxford Road before it was diverted, it might well have been deep cut from centuries of use. When the new road was built, this might have been higher than the path, with the landowner insisting that a "subway" be built under it (rather in the manner of those underbridges that we've discussed early in this thread).

You will notice a discrepancy here. Had soil been dumped in what is now Skerritt Wood at the time of the railway construction, the ground would have been relatively level, with no need for a subway...

I have (yet) another theory, one that suggests a solution to the discrepancy:

The old track running though what is now called Skerritt Wood was deep cut because of centuries of use by what would then have been heavy traffic. The original railway ran perhaps 40-50 yards from this, but led to the main Oxford road being diverted close to the Roebuck, some feet above the path. "Subway" suggests a passage for pedestrians, rather than vehicles (perhaps I clutch at straws), to take them to the other side of the road. Possibly it continued under the two-track railway, facilitating access to the ferryman's cottage, but I now have my doubts.

When the track from Reading to Pangbourne was quadrupled in July 1893, spoil was dumped on the path, bringing it to the same level as Oxford Road. making the subway redundant. About the same time, the footbridge was built over the four tracks, making it eaier for pedestrians to get to the cottage.
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Marlburian
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« Reply #85 on: April 08, 2020, 07:08:18 pm »

There are a couple of other postcard views for sale on eBay:

Bottom of steps

Ferryman's cottage

And to add further piquancy, note the buffer stops below "Not be" in the top photo. I wondered whether I was mistaken, but checked the 1910 revision of the 25in map, and there was a siding running from Tilehurst Station. I imagine that this was for the GWR's benefit, as goods traffic on the Thames must have significantly fallen off by then.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2020, 09:52:08 am by Marlburian » Logged
eightonedee
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« Reply #86 on: April 08, 2020, 07:12:11 pm »

The key to resolving a number of conundrums in this thread appears to be - what happened when the line was "doubled" from 2 to 4 tracks. Was there an additional land take from Purley Park to the south or did it involve land to the north, presumably meaning that the "blue" engineering brick retaining wall currently retaining the line where it runs closest to the Thames was constructed at this time.

I think I remember reading Rolt's biography of Brunel and seeing that the construction of the stretch past this point and Sonning Cutting were two of the more challenging elements of building the line in the 1830s, especially (if I recall correctly) as there was an exceptionally wet spell when the line was driven through either side of Reading. As I borrowed the book from the library  (remember them?), I cannot check to see if my memory is playing tricks, but I am sure that there are forum members who have the book and can correct me.
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stuving
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« Reply #87 on: April 08, 2020, 07:35:14 pm »

The key to resolving a number of conundrums in this thread appears to be - what happened when the line was "doubled" from 2 to 4 tracks. Was there an additional land take from Purley Park to the south or did it involve land to the north, presumably meaning that the "blue" engineering brick retaining wall currently retaining the line where it runs closest to the Thames was constructed at this time.

I as wondering that. Further east, in the cutting, the new overbridge spans are on the north side of the old. However, the bit from there past the Roebuck was part-way up the scarp and (apart from that footbridge) had no overbridges. My feeling it that the railway was so close to the Roebuck that it could never have expanded that on side - unless the slope was quite gentle and was replaced by the retaining wall above the railway.
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Marlburian
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« Reply #88 on: April 08, 2020, 07:42:12 pm »

Juts found this 1878 photograph, confirming what you suggest.

More about the ferries, with a sketch map showing the connecting path, but a page (or two) missing from the on-line preview. (If my link takes you straight to the map, scroll up for details of the dispute  leading to there being two ferries.)
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 07:51:37 pm by Marlburian » Logged
bradshaw
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« Reply #89 on: April 08, 2020, 07:47:33 pm »

Interesting section of mixed gauge track to be seen.
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