Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Avon Bridge

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Brunel's Avon Bridge is nearly hidden by girder bridges.
JD Avon Br01.jpg
JD Avon Br02.jpg
JD Avon Br03.jpg

Avon Bridge is a masonry railway bridge over the River Avon in Brislington, Bristol.

Engineer: Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building. The bridge carries the Great Western Main Line into Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station over the tidal River Avon, approximately 1000 ft west (downstream) of Netham Weir.[1]

It is a under-appreciated Cinderella of a bridge, a fine masonry structure hidden by two ugly sisters - being flanked by two later lattice girder bridges, located in an unappealing area.

There are two flanking arches of Gothic form, while the main span has a very discrete Gothic apex. The main arch spans 100 ft with a rise of just 21 ft. See drawing here. Another drawing here shows a cross section, revealing seven longitudinal spaces, starting from the haunches of the main arches and diminishing towards the crown.

J C Bourne produced an early lithograph of the bridge, a small copy of which may be seen here

Opened in 1840, the masonry bridge still carries heavy traffic. The eastern iron bridge is long disused.

There is some dispute about who was the contractor for the completion of the bridge - Wilcox & Son or John Ewart of Sunderland[2]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. * [1] Wikipedia
  2. Bristol Mercury, 23 May 1840