Warning: Bridge 244 on the Oxford Canal CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!
There we were this weekend, cruising along the Oxford Canal when we came to Bridge 244 and could not go any further – how annoying! This bridge will now be CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
Looking at the state of it, it will take many minds, much brighter than mine, to figure out how to solve this and open it back up – not to mention all the manual work and engineering it will take to get it back open again!
It seems to be completely silted up – there is even grass growing on top of the silt! This is no way to treat a 200 year old piece of our history – its a real living museum piece which is now completely navigable.
The ques waiting to go through made the place just past the bridge look more like a car-park, literally, rather than one of England’s historic inland waterways!
There was nothing for it, we just had to reverse out to the next place we could wind and turn around and head north again!
Hythe Bridge No. 244 The Oxford Canal…
What I failed to mention in the above is that Hythe Bridge No. 244 on The Oxford Canal was intentionally blocked off in the 1950s. The old wharf and basin in Oxford, created in the late 1700s, became a victim of the vast reduction in canal carrying as coal and other goods, which by this time were arriving into the city by train or by road.
Very soon Hythe Bridge was blocked off and where the wharf and basin were, Worcester St Car-park and Nuffield College was built.
Here is a picture of the actual bridge now bricked up…
You’ll see in the ‘close up’ on the right the edge of the curved brickwork of Bridge 244.
Below is a map which I have crudely drawn which shows where the canal now terminates and where it went before it was, in my opinion, vandalised with a car-park.
You can see that there are in fact two bridges which were decommissioned. The first is Hythe Bridge 244 and the second is Worcester St Bridge 245 which would now be under the car-park that now exists. You can see the old route of Worcester St which I have marked with dotted lines, passing the old wharf.
And here is the ‘offending’ car-park.
A look to the future…
If you are reading this as a boater, how would you feel if this old section of historic canal was reinstated? Obviously I am not suggesting that we should knock down Nuffield College, but Oxford, my home city, could stand with losing the eyesore which is this car-park.
How amazing would it be to welcome boats back to this area with a decent size winding hole and visitor moorings within the basin? My opinion is that it would really prettify the area and would be great for tourists and boaters alike. What do you think? Did you even know that this part of the Oxford Canal once existed?
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