Sheepwash Swing Bridge

Unearthing History: NarrowBoat, Summer 2023

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones reveals the story behind a rare image of an LMS swing-bridge on the Thames at Oxford

One of the impediments to navigation for boats moving between the River Thames and Oxford Canal was traversing the railway swing-bridge that spanned the Sheepwash Channel between Louse Lock and the junction with the Thames, called Four Streams. The Sheepwash Channel was a short stretch of river between the main navigation channel of the Thames and a backwater or side-stream called the Isis, which runs parallel to the Oxford Canal all the way to Hythe Bridge about ¼ mile south. The canal connects with the side-stream at Louse Lock a few yards from the Sheepwash Channel. This image shows the bridge in 1947 having been swung round to allow passage of two boats. It was the second bridge built for this crossing, the first originally constructed in 1851 by the Buckinghamshire Railway, under the direction of the London & North Western Railway, to allow trains to reach its terminus station to the south. Being on a lower level than the adjacent fixed Great Western Railway bridge, wh…

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Sheepwash Swing Bridge featured image