Hotspot 1. The River at the Lock

The first pound lock at Iffley (and one of the first two on the Thames) was built by the Burcot Commission, set up in 1624 to improve navigation up to Oxford. The site is on the eastern stream; a western stream runs behind the adjoining meadows. In 1774, a new lock was built, and in 1810, a lock house was added on its western side. Between the 1830s and 1880s, there were plans to abolish the lock, thought to be a cause of back-flooding and waterborne disease in Oxford's riverside parishes. In the 1870s a main sewer for Oxford was built through Iffley to Littlemore; this improved public health and may have weakened the anti-lock argument. The plans were scrapped. In 1924, the lock was rebuilt and the layout altered; the present lock house, on the eastern bank, dates from then.

Until 1974 this stream of the river was the boundary between Oxfordshire and Berkshire; archaeology indicates that in early times this stream was much narrower and Iffley was an early crossing-point. River traffic is still important but working barges have largely given way to pleasure and sporting craft.

Click on the diagram below for link to enlargement.

Lock 1885

Iffley Lock and Mill, HW Taunt, 1885, Centre for Oxfordshire Studies


Iffley weir bridge, Manor House in background, 1885
© Oxford in Old Photos, collected Judi Caton, Alan
Sutton Publishing, 1988


Iffley (with church tower visible) from near the Isis Tavern,
Taunt, c1900



Weir Pool

The Pool, Iffley Lock, between 1909 and 1924


Lock Post 1924

Iffley Lock, post 1924, looking downriver.


Iffley Lock, 2001


OUBC Starting Ring


The Toll Booth, post 1924
The Toll Booth, post 1924, which is still standing. Centre for Oxfordshire Studies. The sign to the left of the entrance says "1/2 D".

Plans of Lock, Pre and Post 1924