Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Wicker Arches

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The Wicker Arches form a 660-yard long railway viaduct across the Don Valley in the City of Sheffield, England.

They take their name from the thoroughfare The Wicker, which passes through the main arch of the viaduct and was, until the completion of the Sheffield Parkway, the main route eastwards from the city to the M1.

The viaduct was built in 1848 to extend the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway from its previous terminus at Bridgehouses. The requirements were laid down by John Fowler, but because of its prominent position in the city, he employed a firm of architects, Weightman, Hadfield and Goldie, to manage the detailed design.

The design was then constructed by Miller, Blackie and Shortridge, and consisted of 41 arches. The arch which crosses the Wicker provides 30 feet of headroom and spans 72 feet. On either side are smaller arches around 12 feet high, with heraldic decoration in the stonework above them. Many of the arches are now concealed by buildings.

Later a part of the Great Central Railway, the viaduct supported Sheffield Victoria Station.

Main line rail passenger services crossing the Wicker Arches ceased in January 1970 with the closure of Sheffield Victoria and its service to Manchester, however the viaduct still carried the local services to Huddersfield via Penistone until they too were diverted, via Barnsley, in the 1980s.

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