The first bridge on the site of today’s Folly Bridge was called South Bridge and was built around 1085 to enable oxen to cross the river from the south of the city to the centre and beyond. Today’s bridge was opened in 1827 and carries traffic across the Isis – the name given to the stretch of the Thames between Folly Bridge and Iffley Lock. The bridge is in two parts, separated by an island. Alongside the bridge are a number of interesting buildings: The Head of the River inn, the Toll House (built in 1826 and now a shop), a castellated house with statues and cast-iron balconies, and Salter Brothers.
Salter Brothers began in 1858 as builders of university barges and racing boats. During the Second World War they were commissioned to build gunships, minelayers and landing craft, while their passenger vessels ‘Mapledurham’ and ‘Cliveden’ were taken over by the Admiralty to be used as hospital ships in London during the Blitz. The company built a large fleet of passenger steam boats and before the popularity of the motor car, were running a twice-daily service to Kingston-upon-Thames. Steam gave way to diesel in 1965, but in the summer their boats continue to run services to Staines via Abingdon, Wallingford, Reading, Henley and Windsor
098 Folly Bridge Xmas card