Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Foundry Bridge, Norwich

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The first 'Foundry Bridge' over the River Wensum was opened in 1811, was built of timber and stone with cast iron railings.

This was repalced in 1844 by a cast iron arch bridge designed by C. Atkinson.

Increasing traffic necessitated the replacement of the cast iron bridge by a plate girder bridge which opened in January 1888.

It is expected, will be ready for traffic this day, [Saturday]. This new bridge is entirely of iron, and in tbe opinion of competent judges, is a very superior structure, and shows suitableness of that metal as a material for such erections. Though iron has been occasionally resorted to for many years past, it is only within the last fifteen years that it has been brought into extensive use for bridges and other public works; but in this as in other departments of mechanical art, science, grounded on experiments, has led way to improvement.
The commissioners having determined to erect a new iron bridge instead of the old wooden one, went to work in a business-like manner, and advertised in number of newspapers for designs. As might be expected, they received a great many; and that of Mr. C. D. Atkinson, civil engineer, ef Wakefield, was selected, as combining economy with strength, elegance, and novelty of construction. Mr. Atkinson became the contractor for the bridge, which, with the lamp-posts, will cost abont £800. Messrs. Bradley and Co., of Wakefield, have erected it, beginning the work early in May, in the progress of which some delay was caused by the vessels bringing the material being detained at Lowestoft. As the bridge now stands, it exhibits a new and beautiful gothic design. It is built on the old foundations, tbe span being the same as before, but the width is greater; it being now 23 feet 6 inches. The structure consists of six lines of cast-iron ribs, on which the flooring is supported by ornamental spandrills. This flooring consists of cast-iron square plates, bolted together, upon which the gravel forming tbe roadway is laid. A bold and massive cornice supports the high gothic railing. In the centre of this railing, on each side, there is panel containing a massive shield, the outer side of which presents the city arms in bold relief. The inner side of the righthand shield bears the following inscription: " Major-Gen. Sir Robt. Harvey, C.B., Chairman of Commissioners; Roger Kerrison, Clerk John Athow, Surveyor; 1844."— The inner side of the left-hand shield bears the following inscription "Designed by C. D. Atkinson, C.E.; erected R. Bradley and Co., Wakefield, 1844." The workmanship of the bridge altogether is of very superior description. All its parts, including railing, cornices, &c, were planed by machinery, so that, when put together, they fitted exactly. The approaches to the bridge, instead of being raised as formerly, will be level with the road. When the masonry is ready, two new lamp- posts, of a design in keeping with the bridge, will be erected on each side of it.' [1]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Norfolk Chronicle - Saturday 29 June 1844
  • [1] - Bridges of the Norfolk Broads - The River Wensum