Thursday, 6 October 2016

Underneath the Arches


Thanks for calling in. Nice to see you.

Walking along the River Thames in Windsor towards the racecourse and Clewer Village, you pass a few interesting things which at first glance don't seem very remarkable at all.

For instance, the railway bridge below is the oldest wrought iron bridge still in regular service in the world. Amazing! The 'bowstring' bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and opened in 1849. It has three bowstring trusses and used to carry two tracks but one was replaced by sewage/water pipes in the 1960s. There was a bit of a race to be the first station to open in Windsor as two competing railway companies were building at the same time but the Great Western Railway travelling over this bridge won by a whisker!

A brick viaduct replaced the wooden one in the 1860s. It must have been quite splendid to see a steam train going over the viaduct.

Nowadays the arches are used in various ways for car parking/storage and the ones below are on Baths Island, a park you can explore and sit and watch the world go by.

It's a bit of an unusual name for an island but it's called that because this is where the public swimming baths in a backwater of the river used to be. This shows up on maps of 1860, a bathing pool for women was constructed in 1904 and sometime in the 1930s changing rooms and handrails were installed. Here's a link to some old photos. During the Victorian era, the baths were moved down the river away from the railway as Queen Victoria didn't think it seemly that train users could see the undressed male bathers, but after her death they were moved back. You can cross a bridge to get on the island.

I rather liked this growing willow arch.

You can't miss this  Hawker Hurricane near the island and the plaque that tells you all about it. It is a replica as a memorial to Sir Sidney Camm noted as the 'Brunel of aero engineers' who came from Windsor.

Autumn was much in evidence.

Having walked round the island, 3,400 steps, there's a bench to sit with your picnic with a great view of the castle high up on the hill.

It just shows that sometimes there's more than meets the eye!



  1. Another wonderful stroll with so much to look at.

    1. You are too kind! I hope I'm showing you the right things!

  2. Who would of thought that there would be so much to see! I love the Queen Victoria story ha! We went to the touristy part of Windsor years ago, I loved it xx

    1. I don't think Queen Victoria was amused at all! Sometimes it's nice to look behind the usual attractions. x

  3. Beautiful bridges and interesting history there. I enjoyed seeing the vintage photos, too. A nice place for a picnic with the view of the castle. x Karen

    1. I didn't realise the bridge was so famous until I got home, so the photo wasn't as good as it could have been!