Scaring the Naiads

25 April 2023

By Ralf-Peter Stumme

I have a small addition to Tim Koch’s wonderful article from yesterday.

The development of the railway system not only allowed the Victorian “boating craze” on the Thames but, in the same way, endangered the idyll. Not only by overcrowding etc. mourned by riparians and the lucky few, the infrastructure itself interfered with the landscape. For example, railway bridges, now seen as monuments, generated protests.

On top is a cartoon in Punch from 26 February 1898 about the (as far as I know) never executed Marlow-Henley line.


  1. The original GWR proposal involved linking Marlow and Henley, two stations which stood at the end of their respective branch lines. The line would have run along the Berkshire bank of the Thames approaching Henley, through what is now Lion Meadow car park at the back of the Stewards’ Enclosure, then through the Leander car park, and across the river to reach the station by means of a newly built bridge, upstream from the road bridge. The idea was debated in Parliament and thrown out when it reached the House of Lords, mainly at the behest of Viscount Hambleden, grandson of the newsagent WH Smith, who did not want the view spoiled as he looked across the meadows from his country residence, Greenlands (now Henley Business School).

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