Burcot & Clifton Hampden for the Protection of the River Thames
In 1889 the novelist Jerome K. Jerome featured Clifton Hampden in his book, ‘Three Men in a Boat’: “Round Clifton Hampden, itself a wonderfully pretty village, old-fashioned, peaceful, and dainty with flowers, the river scenery is rich and beautiful. If you stay the night on land at Clifton, you cannot do better than put up at the “Barley Mow.” It is, without exception, I should say, the quaintest, most old-world inn up the river. It stands on the right of the bridge, quite away from the village. Its low-pitched gables and thatched roof and latticed windows give it quite a story-book appearance, while inside it is even still more once-upon-a-timeyfied…”
The television series to equate to this book by Dara 0’Briain, Gryff Rhys Jones and Rory McGrath was most popular (see Three men in a boat – a modern tribute) and thus encouraged many people to visit Clifton Hampden, but how many people would want to visit a village rich in cultural history with a gravel site and concrete plant so close by?
Major George Allen (1891–1940), former Burcot resident and arial photographer
Historical photos taken from the air by a former resident of Burcot, Major George Allen (1891–1940), who sadly passed away 75 years ago this month, show both the beauty of the landscape and hint at the archaeological riches lying beneath. Major Allen was one of the first people in Oxfordshire to own an aeroplane. He kept his De Havilland Puss Moth monoplane in his own airstrip in Clifton Hampden and flew across much of South England, taking photos of sites of archaeological interest, towns, cities and even gravel pits. The Ashmolean has a collection of around 2000 of his photos; you can see the full collection on their website but here are a sample of some of the photos that we’ve been given by a personal friend of the family, to whom we extend our thanks.