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 143,344 pages of information and 230,027 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Over Bridge, Gloucester

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JD Over Bridge01.jpg
JD Over Bridge02.jpg
The eastern abutment, showing that the right hand portion was evidently sinking during construction

at Over, Gloucester

Over Bridge, also known as Telford's Bridge, is a single span stone arch bridge spanning the canalised West Channel of the River Severn near Gloucester. It links Over to Alney Island.

Although there was a crossing at Over recorded in the Domesday Book, this famous bridge was built by Thomas Telford between 1825 and 1828, to carry traffic east-west. It was opened in 1830 and remained in use for traffic until 1974. Until the Severn Bridge was built in the 1960s this was the lowest point downstream that the Severn could be crossed by road bridge.

The arch spans 150 feet (46 m), with 35 ft rise, although the tapered haunches give the impression of a flatter arch, while also aiding the flow of water during floods. It was based on Jean-Rodolphe Perronet's 1774 design for a bridge over the River Seine at Neuilly. It combines both an elliptical profile over most of the soffit with a segmental profile at its faces. This feature is known as a corne de vache.

There is a noticeable dip at mid-span. The centre of the arch dropped 3" on removal of the wooden centring, and a further 7" due to displacement of the eastern abutment, which, due to false economy, had inadequate foundations. The western abutment was on firmer ground.

An interesting account of the bridge is available here [1]

The spandrels are not solid, there being five cells across the width of the bridge, 2 ft 6" wide, as can be seen in a drawing in the above link.

The bridge has been bypassed, but is accessible on foot. Access from the fast and busy A40 needs to be well researched before attempting to reach the footpaths!


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Telford’s bridge over the Severn at Over, Gloucester', by Bill Harvey, 2011