Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 140,199 pages of information and 227,382 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

North Parade Bridge, Bath

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Bridge before stone cladding applied
The bridge crosses at an angle to the River Avon, but it is not a skew bridge
JD N Parade Br01.jpg
JD N Parade Br02.jpg
These balustrade castings probably matched those of the original iron bridge. The cast iron capping on the top has suffered some bursting, presumably due to oxide growth on wrought iron components beneath

A plaque shows the date of construction as 1836. However, it was altered 100 years later.

Built as a cast iron bridge with masonry abutments. Photo here. Extensive alterations were carried out in 1936-7. Some sources state that the arch was rebuilt, others state that the iron arches were retained and clad in masonry. From the limited reports so far identified, it seems most likely that the cast iron deck was replaced with reinforced concrete, the arch ribs strengthened with a reinforced concrete arch, and the sides clad with stone. Unfortunately the city fathers presumably thought that stone cladding was more in keeping with the surroundings.

There is a door in the abutment's archway, allowing access to the inside of the abutment. It may be that this in turn provides access for inspection of the iron structure.

1836 '.....Messrs. John and Alfred Blyth, of London, were the contractors for the iron work, and Mr. Aust, of Bath, was contractor for the masonry. The workmanship and castings of the bridge are of the very best description, and not surpassed by any yet executed. The masons' work (by the contractor, Mr. Aust) is exceedingly beautiful; indeed the whole has been executed in the most perfect and masterly manner, and reflects the highest possible credit on all parties concerned.'[1]

1933 'Four lady elephants in Bertram Mills' Circus have been bitterly disappointed. They were to have ambled along from the Circus Field to the Abbey Churchyard to-day, to be presented with draughts of mineral water from the Pump Room spring. But the elephants will have to be content with their accustomed supply; they cannot take the cure because the North Parade Bridge has been deemed unsafe to take their weight! The other way — via Pulteney Street — is too far for these delightfully inconsequential animals. Though they would like to "take the cure," they think it not worth while to go the trouble of trundling their gigantic forms all the way up Pulteney Street. The North Parade Bridge is unsafe for regular traffic, and although cars are on special occasions permitted, they do not have the same effect. It is not so much the actual weight of the elephants as their rhythmic strides which may prove tragic the bridge and to themselves.'[2]

1936 'NORTH PARADE BRIDGE. The tender of £11,975, from Messrs Christian and Neilson Ltd., the London bridge builders, was accepted by the Bath Surveying Committee yesterday for the reconstruction of the North Parade Bridge. The existing structure is not to be demolished but it will encased in stonework which will strengthen the bridge and add to its beauty.' [3]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, 17 November 1836
  2. Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, 19 August 1933
  3. Western Daily Press, 9 June 1936