Disappearing bridge numbers - Oxford Canal

I sent the text below to Narrowboat World - it's published on their site under Emails. Thought "Albert's" readers might like to read it.

I read with interest David Hymers’ piece about Oxford Canal Bridge numbers going plastic. In the mid 1990s I noticed a small item in Waterways World about British Waterways having to renew the bridge numbers on the Oxford Canal using original iron castings, or something very similar.

Given that bridge numbers often disappear, British Waterways thought that since they had a habit of 'disappearing' there might be a ready market for genuine Oxford Canal Bridge numbers. In the item they were asking the public for expressions of interest. They would make them up especially for customers to any number and provide a certificate of authenticity. I decided that the entrance to our house would be much improved by a large Georgian style number plate and ordered one. It has adorned our house since.

Given that the number we purchased could be 'real' (the bridge still exists) shortly after buying it I checked out the relevant bridge which is just north of Braunston. I fully expected either the original to be still in place or at least to find a new replacement. I was to be disappointed (or more accurately concerned) because no number was fixed, and up until this year this has continued.

I do hope visitors to our village don’t think that I was responsible for the lack of a number on that bridge. I didn’t remove it—honestly! I suppose I will now have to check out the new plastic variety unless it’s gone already.

Steve Parkin