This study investigates the flow past a confined circular cylinder built into a narrow rectangular duct with a Reynolds number range of 1,500 B Red B 6,150, by employing the particle image velocimetry technique. In order to better explain the 3-D flow behaviour in the juncture regions of the lower and upper plates and the cylinder, respectively, as well as the dynamics of the horseshoe vortex system, both time-averaged and instantaneous flow data are presented for regions upstream and downstream of the cylinder. The size, intensity and interaction of the vortex systems vary substantially with the Reynolds number. Although the narrow rectangular duct with a single built-in cylinder is a geometrically symmetrical arrrangement, instantaneous flow data have revealed that the flow structures in both the lower and upper plate-cylinder junction regions are not symmetrical with respect to the centreline of the flow passage. The vortical flow structures obtained in side-view planes become dominant sometimes in the lower juncture region and sometimes in the upper juncture region in unsteady mode.