An Amazing Bridge Across The Pond

RE Bridge 1885

Please click to zoom

David Pottinger writes:

Recently Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, and his wife Mavis were having lunch in Serendipity in Fleet, when a lady sitting opposite noticed the FPS logo on Colin’s gilet.

“My husband has a photograph of a bridge over Fleet Pond” she said, “would you like to see it?” This was followed up and resulted in Fleet Pond Society obtaining the remarkable picture above.

So, literally, a really good example of serendipity, as the shop’s tagline is ‘the art of making happy & unexpected discoveries’!

Going into the fascinating background, Colin writes:

“The records of the training activity of the Royal Engineers (RE) and other army units based around Fleet and Aldershot are very limited. The RE Museum has not come up with any records of the RE training in the 19th century in this area. The local historians have written on the subject based mostly on what people living in Fleet have either remembered or been told by relatives.

The RE built the large island off Sandy Bay that we call Fir Tree Island, for example. They also built the large T-jetty that was demolished in 1912 to permit floatplane trials from the embankment where Lions View now stands. Mike Smith, who sold me the bridge photograph, believes the large trestle bridge was in fact built from that same embankment and the T-jetty might have been part of that bridge left as a jetty when the bridge itself was demolished.

The bridge was 470 yards long and extended from the sandy embankment on the eastern side across Fleet Pond to where there is now a white house set well back off the road at 93 Kenilworth Road. This house has views of the Pond through the viewpoint we opened to install two seats. It is near the small boat jetty built by our Last of the Summer Wine volunteers.

From the photographs I have collected so far, it seems that these major construction tasks were late 19th century. By 1904, for example, the T-jetty was already badly deteriorated and Fir Tree Island was already well established and tree-covered.”

Here are some other impressive pictures that relate to the military history of Fleet Pond, plus links to the associated articles.

A1904 RAE jetty 2

Read about the above picture here

army under canvas at pond small

Read about the picture above and below here

army cook house at pond small

Picture credits: top (Colin Gray) and for the others, please see the original posts.

0 thoughts on “An Amazing Bridge Across The Pond

Leave a Reply