I recently added to my large collection of local vintage guide books with the 1920s R.A.C/Burrows Maps publication.

A nice little slim edition of photographs, colour maps, 'Places To See' and a large number of adverts for hotels, restaurants and garages, not many of which still exist.

The editors seem to be especially keen on listing golf courses.

I was initially startled to see the owners of Marlow’s Crown Hotel, Mr & Mrs Rutledge, claiming in their advert that the building dated from the 16th Century.

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In fact in 1928 it would have been just 120 years old.

In the previous Century there had been a 'Lower Crown' further down the High Street, possibly there was some confusion with that.

I have selected above the entries for a few towns and villages especially close to us; over 250 places in the three counties get a mention. The populations back then make interesting reading – Marlow was 5,146: it is over four times that today but I find the figure of 1,188 for Little Marlow surprisingly large.

The plans are from 1928

The plans are from 1928

Flackwell Heath gets a single line listing, but only for its golf course (2/6d per day!), although nothing at all is included for Bourne End, which, back then, would have had a growing reputation as a sailing centre.

However the sentence that will probably cause the greatest surprise in the Marlow entry, and bear in mind the date of 1928, is that the bridge is due for demolition.

Most of you will know that in the late 1950s and early 60s it came very close to suffering that fate, and to be replaced with a concrete monstrosity with no weight limit.

In the days prior to the bypass this would have caused huge traffic problems in the town as well as the loss of an historic structure.

A campaign, nationally publicised, by the Marlow Bridge Preservation Committee eventually saved the bridge and arranged for it to be strengthened and rebuilt, and a bypass to be considered for the future.

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Professor John Griffith was the spearhead of this action group which later led to formation of the Marlow Society.

But 30 years before that: in 1928?

It is actually completely true, and plans were well advanced in that year to demolish the bridge and replace it with a wider concrete structure, functional rather than beautiful.

Next week I will show you official documents outlining the proposals and the various strongly worded arguments for and against the plans.

And then, in the Marlow Free Press the week after that, (this is in three parts!) I will print the alternative official proposal which was put forward at the same time to retain the bridge for very light traffic but to build a bypass around the town.

The route of that planned bypass was some distance from the existing one (which was eventually completed in the 1970s) and that proposed 1930s route might come as a bit of a shock to residents of Lock Island!