Culham

Culham is a small, quiet, but otherwise unremarkable village which lies wholely within a bend in the River Thames adjacent to the Culham Cut.

Location map:

The road through the village has pleasant mainly C19 and C20 houses, but the oldest part is clearly centred on the Green at the western end. Just off the Green is the church, St. Paul's, and the Manor House. St.Paul's Church is a Victorian church built on the site of a former mediaeval church. North of the Green, behind a high brick wall, is Culham House, the largest house in the village. Culham House was built about 1775 by John Phillips, lay rector of the parish.

The village was at one time important for the Thames barges carrying stone from the dissolved Abbey of Abingdon and there was wharfage here where the stone was loaded onto barges for transportation to London. The wharf and the remains of the lock can still be seen as well as the assembly pool for barges that lay near it. These were in the ditch now known as Back Water, but then known as Swift Ditch. Swift Ditch was at the time the main navigation channel until 1790 when it was abandoned in favour of the main channel through Abingdon.

Where the road from the village meets the main road the old Culham Bridge still stands spanning the now insignificant Back Water. The old bridge is built across the site of the ancient ford known as Culham Hyth. At the other end of the village near Sutton Bridge is Culham Lock, situated in the Culham Cut which was constructed in 1809.

Outside the village to the north of the main road are the research establishments for which Culham is, perhaps, more well known. Culham Laboratory is home to two major nuclear fusion experiments: JET, the Joint European Torus, the world's largest conventional tokamak (fusion reactor), and MAST, a leading spherical tokamak. Culham is also home to the European School which was set up by the European Commission to provide an international education for the children of Euratom scientists who would come to work at JET.

Near the research establishments
stand Culham Station and The Railway Inn, now a tandoori restaurant.

Culham is about a mile and a half south of Abingdon just off the main Abingdon to Dorchester road, the A415.

Images of Culham:
(Click to view)

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