Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Lendal Bridge

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JD Lendal Bridge01.jpg
JD Lendal Bridge02.jpg

Over the River Ouse in the centre of York.

The present cast iron arch bridge was opened in 1863, replacing an ill-fated wrought iron lattice girder bridge whose construction was started and abandoned in 1861. The bridge has been discretely strengthened by the addition of riveted steel or wrought iron arches.

The 1861 Bridge

The original design was for a lattice girder bridge, criticized for its utilitarian appearance. The engineer was William Dredge, and the ironwork contractors were Calvert and Locking of York.

Three lattice girders had been placed, spanning the river. While lowering the third of these girders into place, it fell over into the rivers, and the disturbance caused the other girders to fall over. Several workers were killed. At the time, the girder was supported at one end by a hydraulic jack, the temporary supporting wedges having just been removed.[1]. The inquest jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death. No great effort was made to determine exactly why the girder fell over.

The 1863 Bridge

The replacement bridge was an elegant cast iron 'Elizabethan Arch' type.

1862 'THE LENDAL BRIDGE. Yesterday (Friday) the Lendal Bridge Committee met Mr. Page at the Guildhall to take into consideration the tenders for the iron-work of the new bridge to be erected across the Ouse at Lendal.
The following parties sent in tenders, and their estimates approximated to the amounts stated:
Mr. J. Whitelaw, Dunfermline £6012
Mr. J. Carrick, Pimlico £5713
Mr. Cliffe, Bradford £5023
Messrs. Handyside and Co., Derby £4920
Mr. Randallstaff, London £3744
Messrs. Hawks, Crawshaw, & Co., Gateshead £3426
Messrs. Calvert and Co., York £3317
Messrs. Head, Ashby, & Co., Stockton-on-Tees £3170 The Brymbo Iron Company, Wrexham £2953
After due deliberation the Committee decided to accept the tender of Messrs. Hawkes, Crawshaw, and Co., of Gateshead. As bridge contractors the firm have had considerable experience. The high level bridge at Newcastle was built by them, and now stands as an example of their skill and ability. Including some extra work, which will require a particular description of iron to be employed in some places to strengthen the bridge, their contract of £3426 will be increased it is expected to £3611. This amount, however, will not cover the entire cost of the ironwork, inasmuch as the cross girders and the corrugated plates belonging to the foot and carriage way of the fallen bridge will have to be re-fixed in the new structure at a cost of £3 10s. per ton.
By their tender Messrs. Hawks. Crawshaw, and Co., undertake to complete the work within six months ; but the committee thought this too long a time, and consequently Mr. Page, at their request, proceeded to Gateshead by the next train to have an interview with the firm upon the subject, and to impress upon them the necessity of having the contract finished at an earlier period, the intention being that the bridge shall if possible be opened for traffic previous to the holding of the show of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society in August next. The tender of Messrs. Calvert and Co. was withdrawn on Wednesday. The tenders of Messrs. Head and Co., and the Brymbo Iron Company were passed over, we hear, in consequence of some defect or inaccuracies. The work will be completed considerably within Mr. Page's estimate.' [2]

The photos show that at some point the bridge was strengthened by the insertion of three riveted iron or steel arch ribs.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Northampton Mercury, 12 October 1861
  2. Yorkshire Gazette, 11 January 1862