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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Brentford backwaters.

Last night was very still and the sun made a good show of the apartments opposite.

I went for a walk round Brentford this morning. I loved this Beehive on top of the Beehive pub. You could have thought it was a mosque from a distance.

This is Soap House Creek and the house it refers to is that on the far right of the photo. It was a company called the Thames Soap Company owned by the Rowe family. The house was built in 1720 and the Rowe family moved in 1806 when they bought the area to expand their business. It then became Peerless Pumps and also the first police station in Brentford. The creek has a lock gate on it and seem to be very high class moorings.

This is the first time I have been up close to the Wave sculpture that welcomes you to the Grand Union and it is covered with etched fish as in a shoal of fish.

Looking very much like a Dutch or French canal this is the entrance to the Brentford Creek.

Just off Brentford bank is Lot's Ait. This was owned by the Thames Lighterage Company to build and repair their lighters that worked on the rivers, docks and canals of the capital. It opened in the 1920's and was one of the last tidal boat yards to close. It is now being slowly redeveloped by John Watson who is set to rebuild the original yard and also provide residential moorings. There are some very nice vessels there at the moment.

This is Waterman's Park and is due to be redeveloped. The park is to remain but the rag tag collection is to be moved off as they are illegal according to the Hounslow Council They are to spend £5.45 million on a new 'marina' for 26 berths that will displace the 40 residents currently. Mind you there seems to be about 60 boats there at the moment, some of which surely couldn't, or shouldn't accommodate anybody.

This is the monument to historic events of Brentford. These are the crossing of the Thames at Brentford by Julius Caesar in 54BC , The Council of Brentford which settled dispiutes between King Offa and the Bishop of Worcester in 781, the battle between Danish Canute and English Edmund Ironside in 1016 and then the Battle of Brentford during the Civil War in 1642 when the Royalist won a skirmish here at Brentord but failed to win through to London that would have maybe won the war for them. The monument is made from two pillars from the original old Brentford Bridge in 1909. It stood at the end of Ferry Lane but kept getting covered with coal that was unloaded there. It was moved further up Ferry Lane in 1955 and then to it's current spot in 1992.

There is a network of footpaths on both banks of the creek which are great to wander about on off the beaten track. This is Thames Lock from the bridge above. Next to the road bridge there is a footbridge that takes you down to creek level.

I walked over to the site of Brentford Dock, despite the many signs warning it was residents only, and came across the lock. It doesn't look like the lock is used that often but I looved the old mechanism on the other side. I thought it may have been from a bridge across the lock pit as we have ones a little similar in Hull.

However I came across this photo and it seems to show the same  mechanism being worked in anger for the last time by these two worthy gentlemen in 1964.

The marina in the old dock was opened in 1980 after the housing estate was built over the extensive sidings around the dock. The arches on the far side are an original feature. there was a covered warehouse too. It was used as a transshipment from lighters and narrow boats to railway.

It was opened by what became the Great Western Railway to a design by Isambard Kingdom Brunell and was started in 1855 and completed in 1859. Being the GWR the railway scale was their very large 7ft guage. On the peninsula to the wave sculpture there is still a section of track from a siding and that is the huge 7' guage.

Off the creek are several little cuts that follow flood channels and there seems to be a lot of work going on their along with several moorings for offices and residents.

The tide was flooding as I walked past and could see what looks like the midships section of a container lighter. The stern section is moored to buoys on the Thames outside Brentford Dock

At the bottom of Cathernine Wheel Road, the site of another soap works, lays the Brewery Tap pub and Johnson's Island. Hidden away is a little set of moorings for short and low air draft boats that can't get much more secure.

A narrow boat was just heading down to Thames Lock to pen out to the Thames. There are some great boats with plenty of space moored up here and their moorings are lovely and quiet. That is if you discount the planes above.

Brentford guaging Lock today with the River Brent over flow channel to the right.
Just a little busier in 1962/63.

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