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Oxford Inscriptions: Two inscriptions at Iffley Lock


Iffley Lock

This inscription on the foundation stone of Iffley Lock (below ground level, near the south gate) reads:

THAMES CONSERVANCY
IFFLEY LOCK

THIS STONE WAS LAID BY
THE RT. HON.
THE LORD DESBOROUGH, K.C.V.O.
                                      CHAIRMAN
ON THE OCCASION OF THE OPENING OF THIS LOCK
19TH JULY 1924      F. J. GRIFFITHS M.INST. C.E.
                                       ENGINEER

Lord Desborough (1855–1955) rowed for Oxford in the Boat Race in 1877, when there was a dead heat, and again in 1878, when Oxford won. He was the Chairman of Thames Conservancy from 1904 to 1937.

Photographs of the new Iffley Lock in the Oxford Journal Illustrated:

  • 30 January 1924, p. 8: The lock prematurely filled by recent floods
  • 27 February 1924, p. 1: The Varsity Eight passing through the lock (the first boat to do so), with Lord Desborough looking on
  • 23 July 1924, p. 1: Opening of the new Iffley Lock showing (1) Sir Robert Buckell addressing the gathering; (2) Lord Desborough and the Vice-Chancellor of the University on a tour of inspection; and (3) Lord Desborough without his coat laying this commemoration stone; and on p. 3 Lord Desborough and members of the Thames Conservancy at the lock
  • 20 August 1924: A silver and ivory trowel supplied by Messrs A. Ballard Ltd presented to Lord Desborough at the opening of the new lock
  • 15 October 1924: The new sluice gate being constructed at Iffley Lock

Iffley LockThe plaque can be seen at the bottom right of the above photograph


Iffley pound lock

THE ORIGINAL POUND LOCK AT IFFLEY,
WHICH WAS BUILT AND IN USE BY 1632,
WAS ONE OF THE FIRST THREE POUND
LOCKS ON THE THAMES. THE OTHERS
WERE AT SANDFORD AND ON THE SWIFT
DITCH. THE PRESENT IFFLEY LOCK WAS
BUILT IN 1923.

When Iffley Lock was created, it was one of only three pound locks (where water is collected in a pound between two gates) on the Thames. Nowadays almost all locks are pound locks.

Stephanie Jenkins