Shedding light on the past.

The wall under the wrought-iron footbridge.

It’s amazing how changing light conditions reveal things you have never noticed before.

There l was heading into town along the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal which passes through Sydney Gardens on its way to Widcombe and its junction with the River Avon.

The wall under the wrought-iron footbridge.
The wall under the wrought-iron footbridge. Click on these images to enlarge them.

The canal – by John Rennie – was excavated between 1799 and 1810 and runs through the Sydney Gardens which had only just been opened in 1795.

The waterway running through the park is crossed by two delicate chinoiserie cast and wrought-iron footbridges bearing the date 1800 and made at Coalbrookdale.

Clearly showing  'J.Hodges 1862'
Clearly showing ‘J.Hodges 1862’

It is on the stone wall beneath one of these bridges that l spotted the 19th century graffiti with sunlight spotlighting ‘J.Hodges 1862’ – that’s around twenty years after the Great Western Railway became the second transport route to cut across this garden parkland.

1877 is engraved here
1877 is engraved here

On the same wall other dates were high-lighted by today’s rare winter sunshine.

E.M. 1822?
E.M. 1822?