History gallery

Explore a selection of old photographs, maps and illustrations related to the eyot.

Ryman’s Eights Week print ‘The Race’ published in 1852.
Probably painted looking south west from the north of Aston’s Eyot, close to where the Cherwell New Cut now meets the Thames. Long Bridges visible in the middle distance, slightly right of centre.
Ordnance Survey Map 1876Aston’s Eyot is the island marked ‘Hormer’.
Note that the Cherwell New Cut has not yet been dug. When it was dug in 1884 it created the triangular island north of Aston’s Eyot on which many of the University boathouses have been built.
The Cherwell New Cut 1884
The construction of the Cherwell New Cut, the northern boundary of Aston’s Eyot – houses on Iffley Road visible to the east in the distance. The New Cut was constructed to ease the flow of the Cherwell at the point where it meets the Thames – see the 1876 map on the maps tab to see how it looked before the cut was constructed.
Oxford Chronicle on 14th March 1891
Reports the purchase of Aston’s Eyot by Christ Church. “We (the Oxford Magazine) trust that we are not violating the mysteries of the business of two great Colleges, when we announce that a complete bargain makes it now certain that the “Green Bank” or “Aston’s Eyot,” as legal documents call it, is to come into the hands of Christ Church at no very distant date. The land consists of thirty acres, filling the space between the New Cut and the Freshman’s River, and reaching back to the Shire Ditch, at the foot of the Running Ground. Our readers will be glad to know that the purchasers are not intending to lay it out – à la Grandpont – in submarine villa residences. It will probably be joined to Christ Chuch Walks by a light bridge, and surrounded with a gravel path and shrubberies, much like the ground between the New Cut and the Cherwell. Everyone will rejoice at the extension of the charming walk by the water-side.”
Thames Frozen over 1894
It was cold in those days! A photo taken from the middle of the river, close to the  Cherwell New Cut looking south. Aston’s Eyot is to the left of the picture and a twin-gabled  boathouse (now the expanded  five-gabled Mansfield/St Catz boathouse) is visible on the right bank, next to Long Bridges House. Have a look at the foot of the Management page for a modern snowy photo of the enlarged boathouse.
Flooded Torpids 1904
Taken from the west side of the Thames, approximately opposite the confluence with the Cherwell New Cut, looking across to Aston’s Eyot on the left. The large building in the distance on the right is approximately where the Falcon Rowing club/Riverside Centre buildings now stand.
View from Donnington Bridge in the 1940’s
From the footbridge over the Thames which stood close to the site of Donnington Bridge until 1962. Aston’s Eyot is in the centre middle distance and the Kidneys Nature Park to the right of the picture. Long Bridges just out of sight on the left. The Poplars in the distance are probably on the northern edge of Aston’s Eyot and three or four still survive. The whole area is noticeably free of the scrub, marsh and woodland which now prevail. Note Tom Tower on the horizon, left of centre, and boathouses below.
View from Thames footpath 1940s
View from the south from the Thames footpath – Aston’s Eyot in the distance on the right; the large tree is at the southern tip of AE, north of where Shire Lake Ditch meets the Thames. The large building on the left appears to be the boathouse (now Mansfield/St Catz boathouse)  north of Long Bridges
Fire Service float ‘Abel’ in 1941
A precaution against fires from anticipated bombing, to provide access from the Thames. The dense line of willows behind the boat is on Aston’s Eyot. College boathouses and college barges in the distance on the left.
Eyot at War 1943
The Oxford Home Guard on Aston’s Eyot, tackling the ‘Jackdaw Lane assault course’.

Aerial image of the eyot in 1945
Note how little vegetation there is in the middle of the eyot. The vertical lines are perhaps a consequence of the gradual covering up of several decades of rubbish deposits.
Floods in 2007.
Note that Aston’s Eyot itself (in the bottom right quarter of the picture) is not flooded, due to the increased height of the land because of its use for many years as a rubbish dump.
Friends of Aston’s Eyot 2010.
An early work party of the recently formed Friends of Aston’s Eyot.