Travel backwards in time at The Perch, Binsey, Oxford

July 2015

A visit to The Perch at Binsey, Oxford is a delight.

A chance to enjoy the world of Mad Hatters, Treacle Wells and Red Queens. All where it first was recited after being verbally told on the river close by and been written down at the insistence of Alice.

But on Google Earth (if not also in reality) you can step back in time as you cross into the car park on your way to drink or food or snacks.

May 2012

The bar has changed slightly but the food, drink and snacks are even better now I think.




GWHL – my Grandfather

1927 Trial of petrol engined roller unsuccessful. George W Linsley Hood brought in as new Chief Designer. Prototype of ‘A’ class petrol paraffin version of ‘Advance’ roller. Firm made overall loss.

1929 Recession affects demand for motor rollers, though the steam ‘Advance’ roller still sold well. Wallis & Steevens continued to trade at net loss. Welding adopted as manufacturing technique.

1930 Board meeting decides to concentrate on steam ‘Advance’ and small motor rollers. Batch of heavy diesel rollers had to be sold at cost.
Successful trial of 2 ton small roller with petrol engine

1931 Staff reduced to minimum by layoffs. National diesel engines adopted for large rollers
1932 Another poor year. Deficit £10,300. Other firms in similar trouble

1933 Firms surviving recession meet to consider setting minimum price for motor rollers.

1934 Profit of £1855 earned, though no dividend paid to shareholders. Francis Ashby Wallis dies in July. George Wilson becomes works manager. William Alfred Wallis dies in September. Extraordinary General Meeting called. Nominal capital valuation of the company reduced

1935 Herbert Wetham made a director. Deficit reduced to £6,000, but achieved only by decreasing stocks, deferring maintenance and foregoing new plant

1937 Sale of steam rollers reduced to two or three a year. Last pair sold to War Department in 1940. Motor roller production replaced steam sales.

1939 Wartime production mainly of small rollers

1940 Only major change was substitution of straight rear axle by cambering version

1944 Introduction of ‘Universal’ range of rollers. Good and trouble free

1945 Wallis & Steevens still agricultural dealers. Spares still required, and land pressers and mole drainers manufactured

1947 Francis Wallis joins board

1948 Staff recruitment dwindled. Production dropped to pre-war levels.

1951 Company under chairmanship of Arthur Wallis. Coventry 4-cylinder engine introduced

1953 Agricultural works and sales department added at Charlton Road Andover. Francis Wallis took over from Richard, and Albert Smallbone became Secretary

1955 George Wilson made director when Herbert Wetham retires. Choice of engines offered, and technical developments continue

1957 Enclosed cabs introduced

1959 Power steering introduced (George W Linsley Hood retires)



1927 – 1959

Basingstoke, Hampshire, England

Wallis & Steevens, Head Design Engineer

296 Wallis & Stevens Advance Diesel Road Roller (1956)


Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme (today)

Looks like what I have found and am proposing as a Northern end to the flood plain management scheme will fit wonderfully into what they are doing.

Two halves joined together at the Botley Road!

Further information

For further information on the Oxford and Abingdon Flood Alleviation Scheme please see the Oxford and Abingdon policy paper.




Landsat anotated






Estimated ‘old’ Thames height v King’s Weir

Estimated old thames

From photographic evidence 26/01/2016, even with the stream below the weir partially blocked by fallen trees, I estimate that the drop from the Thames to the stream is currently about 1.5 meters. If the stream were to be cleared to allow free flow downstream then it is likely that the range will increase, possibly up to 2 meters which would then mean that King’s Weir/lock would be dry and so would Oxford (without Wytham Weir).


Please note, for the entire length of the ‘old’ Thames from Wytham in the North to Sandford in the South along the western edge of the flood plain, it is at a lower elevation to the Isis which runs along the eastern edge of the flood plain between the same two end points.


Obviously without some serious maintenance of the whole length ‘old’ Thames stream/river bed from Wytham to Sandford and necessary upgrades to return any ‘lost’ drainage channels, diversions of this nature would not be possible in the short term.



“1885: The Royal River –

The picture from here is exceptionally interesting. A rustic bridge spans a backwater trending towards Witham Mill, and in the direction of Oxford. The thickset woods stand out in prominent relief, and another farmhouse of the higher class, surrounded by ricks, appears to the left.
Hagley Pool, which is merely a lake-like widening of the water at the bend, is covered with yellow water-lilies.”

Seacourt Stream

Weir Stream leaving on Right Bank.
The Seacourt Stream is probably an old course of the river which entirely by-passes Oxford, going through Hinksey and rejoining below Iffley Lock.  I think this can be canoed.”