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Clarendon Arch
New River, Bush Hill, Enfield, London, UK
associated engineer
Not known
date  1682
era  Stuart  |  category  Tunnel  |  reference  TQ322950
ICE reference number  HEW 277
Clarendon Arch is the oldest surviving structure on the New River, the supply system constructed 1608-13 to bring fresh water from Hertfordshire into London. The Arch is a short brick tunnel that allowed Salmons Brook (now dry) to run beneath the New River.
The New River originally crossed the brook in the Bush Hill Frame, a lead-lined timber aqueduct 203m long. Clarendon Arch replaced the timber aqueduct some 70 years later. It consists of a semi-circular barrel vault with brick voussoirs at the east end, and Portland stone with brick voussoirs at the west end.
Also at the west end is a Portland keystone carving of Sir Hugh Myddelton’s (1560-1631) coat of arms, and the inscription: “This Arch was rebuilt in the Yeare 1682, Honourable Henry Earle of Clarendon on being Gov.” — Henry Hyde (1638-1709), second Earl of Clarendon, was Governor of the New River Company at the time.
Around 1784-6, the abutments and west portal were taken down to enable the tunnel to be extended so that the New River and a road could cross Salmons Brook on an embankment. They were rebuilt in their present position. The tunnel is now some 24m long with a crown 700mm thick.
Above the tunnel, on the west side, there is a rectangular stone bearing the inscription: "This bank of earth was raised and formed to support the Channel of the New River. And the frame of timber and lead which served that purpose 173 years was removed and taken away. MDCCLXXXVI Peter Holford Esquire, Governor".
In recent times, Clarendon Arch was badly cracked and timber shoring supported it for many years. Horizontal metal bracing bars span across the tunnel at intervals. Thames Water carried out restoration work on the structure (circa 2000). Clarendon Arch is Grade II listed.
Research: ECPK
bibliography
The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol.56, John Nichols, London, October 1784
www.enfield.gov.uk
reference sources   CEH Lond
Location

Clarendon Arch