Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Holliday Street Aqueduct

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The present 'Holliday Street Aqueduct' in central Birmingham was constructed in 1884, presumably to replace an existing aqueduct. It is a 42 ft span bridge of considerable width, built to carry the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, and a wharf, road and railway over Holliday Street. One source gives the width as 54.30 m (178 ft)[1], another as 156 ft.

When constructed it carried a wide access road originally leading from Bridge Street to Worcester Wharf (now housing) over Holliday Street, very close to the Worcester Bar stop lock in Gas Street Basin.

Immediately to the south of Holliday Street the Cross-City Line (originally the Birmingham West Suburban Railway) rail line runs in a tunnel parallel to Holliday Street. A short distance south of that is the disused rail tunnel of the original line which terminated at Central Goods railway station (the previous terminus of the Birmingham West Suburban Railway). Immediately south of the disused rail tunnel the canal turns sharply between The Mailbox and The Cube through ninety degrees to run parallel to the rail tunnels.

The aqueduct has 24 cast iron columns made by Handyside and Co of Derby. These support riveted wrought iron I-beam girders, from which are sprung brick jack arches. The canal has cast iron bed plates. The east end is on a slight curve, demanding a complex arrangement of transverse beams at that end.

YouTube video tour by Andy Savage of the structure here. The date 1884 is clearly shown on one of the cast iron columns.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Blog by Andy Savage
  • Wikipedia
  • 'Civil Engineering Heritage - West Midlands' by Roger Cragg. Phillimore & Co, 2010