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Stalybridge Aqueduct
River Tame, Stalybridge, Tameside, Manchester, UK
Stalybridge Aqueduct
associated engineer
Benjamin Outram
date  1800 - 1801
era  Georgian  |  category  Aqueduct  |  reference  SJ953982
ICE reference number  HEW 858
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
The aqueduct at Stalybridge carries the Huddersfield Narrow Canal over the River Tame. It is the second and only surviving prefabricated iron aqueduct designed by engineer Benjamin Outram, and it replaced his earlier masonry aqueduct at the same location.
Outram's earlier masonry aqueduct had four arches and was constructed in 1795. It was swept away by a flood in August 1799. Using cast iron was seen as a quick and cost effective way to replace it. But this was a novel idea the first cast iron aqueduct in the world dates from only four years earlier (Longdon-on-Tern by Thomas Telford, 1795). By 1799, Outram had already built a similar structure at Holmes on the Derby Canal (now gone).
The more substantial Stalybridge Aqueduct, also known as the Stakes Aqueduct, has a trough 18.75m long overall with a clear span of 16.75m over the river. The trough is 3m wide and 1.8m deep, with separate side and base segments approximately 900mm long connected by bolts and square-headed nuts.
The 18 trough side sections have flanges on either side tapering outwards from top to bottom, with eight or nine (over the abutments) intermediate triangular gusset plates. The longitudinal top flange has a moulded bead and the bottom flange is bolted to the base sections, which are also flanged and gusseted. The joints between the side and base segments appear to have been sealed with a material similar to putty. Each end of the aqueduct has niches for stop planks.
The trough is self-supporting between the two abutments, although pairs of raking tie bars were added in 1870 to inhibit settlement. In 1875, the trough was supported mid-span from the arch of the adjacent towpath bridge. The towpath is carried on an elliptical masonry arch of 17.1m span with a single ring of voussoir stones.
Outram was an expienced canal engineer, having started out as assistant to William Jessop. He went on to design the Derby Canal and various other canal works, including the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. However, after 1801, he concentrated on running the B. Outram & Co ironworks, which is now the Butterley Company.
Research: PD
reference sources   BDCE1

Stalybridge Aqueduct