* NOTE: Temple Lock figures are not available online! The figures shown are on the assumption that the characteristics of the Hambleden - Hurley reach and the Hurley - Temple reach are the same as those of the Shiplake to Marsh reach
Right bank Lock, tel:01628 482867, length: 151'6", width: 19'11"
1794: Report of a survey of the river Thames between Reading and Isleworth ... John Rennie (the Elder)
Between the wharf and the mills below, there is no towing path for about 220 yards in length;
this is a great inconvenience, and ought to be remedied.
When we begun our work this morning, the mills had worked the head down one foot, or eighteen inches under high water mark; and I was informed by Mr. Clarke, your Surveyor, and by the Lock Keeper, that the water is sometimes two feet lower than now.
There are three paper mill wheels, and two corn mill wheels at this place, and they seem to be under very bad regulations indeed, otherwise they would not be suffered to work down the water so much as three feet six inches under pen; in such cases one cannot be surprised at there being a deficiency of water for the navigation; this abuse of power is much against the interest of the mills as well as the navigation, and ought to meet the earliest attention of the Commissioners.
I found four feet two inches of water on the upper sill of the lock, and two feet seven inches and a half on the lower sill; there being at the same time only a depth of four feet seven inches and a half on the upper sill of Boulter's Lock, viz. eighteen inches and a half under pen.
From the tail of Marlow Lock, to near Marlow Point, there is one continued shoal, where I found, on an average, about a foot more water than on the tail of the lock; and there is, at about 230 yards under the lock, a kind of pen sluice, which is shut in to carry the barges into the tail of the lock, but in this operation much time is lost, as the water has another channel by which it can escape between the lock and pen sluice. If this channel was shut up, and the lower sill of the lock lowered about two feet, the millers would soon find it their interest to lower the mills also, and the scour being properly taken away, and the shoals deepened quite to Marlow Point, it is probable this obstruction would be entirely removed.
But the expense attending these remedies would be considerable, and perhaps not so effectual as could be wished. I would therefore advise a new cut to be made from a little above Marlow Bridge, across the meadows, to the bend below on the Berks side, and past all the shoal water between it and Marlow Point, and a pond lock being placed adjoining the river, a most effectual improvement would be obtained free of all uncertainties, and more in the line of the river below than the present channel, which has been wearing away the point for many years past. Mr. Clarke informed me, it had taken away above forty feet in the last two years.
1859: The Thames, Mr & Mrs Hall
A short distance below Marlow, a paper and corn-mill added to the lock completely block up the Thames -
[ from the angler's point of view! ]
1880: William Morris, Putney to Kelmscot -
... all safe up to Marlow Lock when it became nearly dark
and the 'Ark' was swung violently across the stream by a mill race
the whereabouts of the Lock being invisible;
matters further complicated by the arrival of a large "tin kettle" (of pleasure) which whistled and steamed horribly.
(note here: insert various orders of expletives !) also (effect of darkness, and roar of waters!)
1881: George Leslie, "Our River":
Marlow Lock and mill are very good old-fashioned specimens of their kind. The lock is a dangerous one to pass, being old, with many ragged piles and broken woodwork about its sides. It was our favourite place of an evening, when my wife and I were at Marlow, from which to see the sunset and the moon rise, and there we saw an eclipse of the latter, as it rose behind Quarry Woods in great splendour. Locks are generally good places to idle at; the great lever handles are very convenient to lounge on, the keepers have mostly something interesting to tell you, while the excitement of passing boats never fails in its variety. But one caution I should impress on lock loungers - never take children with you, or the anxiety about them will utterly destroy the pleasure of the place; ours were always snug in their beds when we paid our visits to the lock.
1890: Marlow Lock, Francis Frith -
1890: Marlow Lock, Francis Frith -
1896: Marlow Lock, Henry Taunt -
Marlow Lock, Henry Taunt, 1896
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT7754
1965: The last watermill was pulled down to make room for the white town houses which now occupy the site
Marlow Lock, 1999
John Eade, Lechlade-Windsor, 87 miles completed, 13 to go: Marlow Church
Marlow Weir. Left Bank above Lock DANGER!
Aerial View of Marlow -