Reading Festival bridge

A new bridge has been built over the River Thames to take thousands of visitors to the Reading Festival. 

The temporary structure, made out of the stage used for Madonna’s tour, has just been completed upstream of Caversham Bridge. 

In recent years young campers on the Mapledurham side have had to queue for a ferry to reach the festival site by the towpath on the Reading bank. 

Youngsters using one of the camping areas at the Reading Festival have had to queue in recent years to take a boat to and from the main site. Festival director Melvin Benn has wanted to build a crossing for some years.

“It’s a dream come true” he said yesterday after inspecting the £1m bridge which opens tomorrow for the use of festival goers only.

The bridge will be dismantled later this month and re-erected next year.

Spencer’s Cookham painting launches Bragg series

Faith In The Frame, a new 10 part series for ITV1, is being launched with a programme devoted to Stanley Spencer’s painting The Resurrection in Cookham Churchyard.

The first programme goes out on Sunday evening 31 August and sees Melvyn Bragg chair a 30 minute discussion with novelist Howard Jacobson, art expert Tim Marlow and former Bishop of Oxford Richard Harries who had Cookham in his diocese.

The painting, completed after three years of work in 1927, shows part of the churchyard through which the Thames Path now runs. Included is the kissing-gate leading back to the towpath.

It is interesting that a work by a Cookham resident, who loved the river, ranks in this series alongside paintings by Bosch, Chagall, Botticelli and Bruegal.

See page 103.

Peter Ackroyd’s River Thames television series

Those living in the London ITV region will have been able to enjoy Peter Ackroyd’s 30 minute Thames programme this evening.

This first episode visited the source near Cirencester and claimed that the Rhine was once part of the Thames.

Most interesting was an interview with the owners of Rose Isle just downstream of Oxford. They plan on never leaving.

Also featured was nearby nearby Iffley Church. Peter Ackroyd is good on churches and their relationship with the water.  

Ackroyd on television, as in his Thames book, deals in themes so there are plenty of shots of the towpath up and down the river. 

There are four programmes and next Friday the theme will be art. 

The Sky Arts channel will show the series next month starting at 8.30pm on 4 September.