Monument record 0934901000 - Dog Kennel (Ritchings Park) Bridge

Summary

Nineteenth century bridge across the Great Western Railway, built 1836-8 to designs by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, extended in 1878 and demolished in December 2010.

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Map

Type and Period (1)

  • BRIDGE (Built 1835-8, 19th Century - 1800 AD to 1899 AD)

Description

13 feet 6 inches wide overbridge designed by Brunel and built in 1835-8 to carry an unclassified lane over the Great Western Railway and extended to the north to accommodate additional tracks in 1878. Both arched spans are semi-elliptical arches built in London stock brick with white mortar, limestone imposts, brick string courses and dressed gritstone copings. The original (southern) span is 30feet wide to accommodate two broad-gauge tracks, the northern extension was built to match but with a 25 feet span (standard gauge) and is separated from the original span by raking buttresses. See report for detail (B1).
Grade II. Railway bridge, 1836-8, with 1878 addition; Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
MATERIALS: Both arches are of London stock brick with white hydraulic mortar, semi-elliptical arches on limestone imposts, brick string courses, and dressed gritstone copings. Both spans retain their original parapets, approaches, gritstone copings and terminal pilasters. The southern 1836-8 abutment is intact. To either side a raking buttress stands between the arched spans.
FAÇADE: The Dog Kennel Lane bridge was built in 1836-8 as a London stock brick 13ft 6ins wide overbridge for unclassified lanes. It originally had gently-splayed abutments at each end flanking a 30ft-span semi-elliptical arch accommodating two broad-gauge tracks (subsequently two mixed broad-/standard-gauge tracks from 1861 until the abolition of broad gauge in 1892). In 1878 the northern abutment was largely demolished and the bridge was extended to its north with a matching 25ft arch during the Southall-Slough quadrupling. The unclassified lane remains an unmetalled track, serving as a permissive footpath.
HISTORY: In March 1832 the Bristol Railway company was set up to construct a 118-mile long railway line from London to Bristol. Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-59), the 26 year-old son of the leading civil engineer Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (1769-1849) who was already well-regarded in Bristol because of his work on the Clifton Bridge and the City Docks, was appointed the company engineer of what was renamed the Great Western Railway. For the next fifteen years he devoted much of his energy to creating what he intended to be 'the Finest Work in England' (Rolt 1957, 171), an unprecedented service of high-speed passenger transport linking London with south-west England. The main line from London to Bristol was constructed in 1835-41 in eight separate sections using a variety of contractors and some direct labour. The first section to be opened was that from Bishop's Road, London, to Maidenhead Riverside, in the summer of 1838. The whole line, from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads was opened in July 1841. Thereafter extensions followed to Exeter, Plymouth, and Penzance; as the South Wales Railway to Cardiff, Swansea, and Milford Haven; and northward to Gloucester, Oxford, and the Mersey.
Brunel oversaw all aspects of the GWR concept and design which was distinctive and comprehensive: the choice of route, which by careful survey and grading was relatively level and with gentle curves; the adoption of a 'broad gauge' of 7 feet 0 ¼ inch rather than the usual 'narrow gauge' of 4 feet 8 ½ inches to give stability at speed; and the carriage of the line via both showpiece engineering structures (perhaps in-part inspired by John Martin's 'apocalyptic sublime' paintings of the ancient world: Freeman 1999, 74-5) including viaducts at Hanwell and Chippenham, the Box Tunnel, and iron and masonry bridges and more prosaic ones such as the nine bridges under consideration.
Archival study by Dr Brindle has ascertained that the Dog Kennel Lane bridge formed part of Brunel's contracts 4 L[ondon] and 5L and, like other bridges included therein, was erected between the spring of 1836 and May 1838 when the Paddington-Maidenhead line opened.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: The Dog Kennel Lane Bridge, built in 1836-8 to a design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, retains its original 30ft-span semi-elliptical arch, parapets, and other architectural details. Of the surviving Brunel bridges on the London to Maidenhead section of the GWR it is probably the best in terms of condition, historic value and visual amenity. It is of considerable historic importance for the early Brunel fabric.
SOURCES:
S. Brindle, Paddington Station (2005); R. Angus Buchanan, 'Brunel, Isambard Kingdom (1806-1859)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004); M. Freeman, Railways and the Victorian Imagination (1999); L. T. C. Rolt, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1957); RPS Planning & Environment, Crossrail: Technical Assessment of Historic Railway Bridges (January 2005); Developing Crossrail: Round 2 Consultation Document August to October 2004 (B2).
Bridge demolished on 25th December 2010 in advance of the London Crossrail Scheme. Historic building recording (level 3) and 3D laser scanning carried out by Total Surveys Ltd and Albion Archaeology. See report for detail (B3).
Removed from statutory list in June 2012 (B4).

Sources (5)

  • <1>SBC22469 Unpublished document: RPS Clouston. 2005. Crossrail: Technical Assessment of Historic Railway Bridges. pp1-3, 21-2, 40-1, & illus.
  • <2>SBC4001 Bibliographic reference: DoE. 1985. LIST OF BUILDINGS OF SPECIAL ARCHITECTURAL OR HISTORIC INTEREST: BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: DISTRICT OF SOUTH BUCKS. Added 18th April 2006.
  • <3>SBC23851 Unpublished document: Albion Archaeology. 2011. Dog Kennel Bridge, Iver: Structural Recording.
  • <4>SBC24250 Unpublished document: English Heritage. 2012. Letter re notification of de-listing decision with accompanying advice report on Dog Kennel Bridge.
  • <5>SBC24402 Unpublished document: Total Surveys Limited. 2010. Survey of Dog Kennel Bridge, Iver.

Location

Grid reference TQ 02939 79811 (point) (Exact)
Civil Parish IVER, South Bucks, Buckinghamshire

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • Event - Survey: Historic building recording (Ref: 107000) (EBC17582)
  • Event - Survey: Historic building recording and watching brief (Ref: DKB1722) (EBC17564)

Record last edited

Jul 2 2019 6:13PM

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