Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,368 pages of information and 245,906 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Winnington Swing Bridge

From Graces Guide
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2022
Unusually for Saner's bridges, most of the gusset plates connecting the vertical and diagonal members were bolted, not riveted
The wheels are 'stabilisers', the primary pivots being provided by double row ball races in the housings shown below
The cross beams either side of the pivot have been strengthened by welding on additional plates
JD 2022 11 Winnington 4.jpg
JD 2022 11 Winnington 5.jpg
From The Engineer, 8 Oct 1909
Pivot bearing arrangement. From The Engineer, 8 Oct 1909
Motor, gears and winding cable drum. From The Engineer, 8 Oct 1909

at Winnington, near Northwich, Cheshire

Many sources also call this Winnington Turn Bridge, but that title is used in Grace's Guide for another bridge, no longer extant.

See Historic England entry here and British Listed Buildings entry, here. Both entries call it the Winnington Turn Bridge, and claim that the bridge, constructed in 1908/9, 'replaces an earlier version constructed in 1901, which proved inadequate both in terms of carrying capacity and design.' It did replace an inadequate bridge, but that bridge was constructed earlier than 1901. The 1901 example was a different, smaller bridge. For more information, see below and see Winnington Turn Bridge.

The previous bridge was only rated at 8 tons, and there had been an increase in the volume and weight of traffic, particularly since the route had become more important following the construction of the Widnes-Runcorn transporter bridge. There was pressure to provide a new bridge, but there was much wrangling over the question of who should pay for it, the Weaver Navigation Trustees arguing that they were only liable to provide a bridge rated at 8 tons.[1]. Perhaps this explains why the present bridge ony has a single carriageway, controlled by traffic lights.

It is the smallest of five swing bridges taking major roads across the River Weaver. The others are:-

It has a straight horizontal top chord and curved[2] lower chord, whereas the other four had curved top chords and straight lower chord.

Designed by John Arthur Saner and constructed in 1908 to replace an older, smaller, manually-operated bridge which was in poor condition and unsuited to modern traffic requirements. 1904 Photos of the old bridge here, here and here.

A full description of the bridge, with illustrations, was provided in The Engineer in 1909[3]. Some extracts: The bridge weighs about 150 tons, the girders 108 ft long, and the clear width of the waterway 55 ft. The pivot was unusual: a double row Hoffmann ball bearing, having 40 balls 2.25" diameter, the assembly being supported by a ball and socket arrangement. There are six turntable rollers (see photos), which only come into play in the event of excessive movement. Swinging was effected by a wire rope whose capstan was driven by a Mather and Platt 30 HP motor (see drawing and photo). A 5 HP Mather and Platt motor worked the pair of locking wedges located under the deck (at the tail end only).

'The work was carried out without necessitating the employment of a temporary bridge, the old stone abutment being made use of. The cost has not exceeded £4000. The drawings were made in the office of the Weaver engineer, Mr. Saner, and the whole of the work, except the electric motor and ball bearings, was carried out in the Weaver Navigation repair yard by the engineer's staff.'

Note: Another, smaller swing bridge at Winnington, crossing a branch of the River Weaver at Winnington called the Floodcourse, was described in Engineering in 1901 [4]. This was probably known as the Winnington Turn Bridge.

In this area the River Weaver and the canalised Weaver Navigation are separated, forming an island. The 1908 swing bridge crosses the canalised branch, while 150 yds south an old stone bridge crosses the flowing river, the canalised portion having branched off 1/4 mile east of the swing bridge. The 1908/1910 25" O.S. map here shows a 'turn bridge' crossing the river at this junction, providing a link between two parts of the large Winnington Alkali Works (presumably the works of Brunner, Mond and Co at that time). This turn bridge was the one described in Engineering in 1901.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Winsford & Middlewich Guardian - Wednesday 20 November 1907
  2. Actually a series of straight members
  3. The Engineer 8 October 1909
  4. [1] Engineering, 27 December 1901