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Duchess Bridge, Hulne Park
River Aln, Hulne Park, Alnwick, Northumberland, UK
Duchess Bridge, Hulne Park
associated engineer
Not known
date  1868
era  Victorian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  NU176149
ICE reference number  HEW 1329
photo  © Russel Wills and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
A lenticular footbridge in the grounds of Hulne Priory, one of the earliest Carmelite friaries in England. The buildings are now in ruins and the surrounding land is a park that includes two noteworthy iron bridges — Duchess Bridge and a carriage bridge. The footbridge has been refurbished and is still used.
Hulne Park is owned by the Percy family (the Dukes of Northumberland), and is one of the estates that supplied the family seat of nearby Alnwick Castle. The former 13th century priory lands had been enclosed as a deer park by the 16th century, and were landscaped by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown (c1716-83) in the 18th century.
At the east end of the park is Duchess Bridge, one of seven bridges over the River Aln in the grounds. Another of the seven is an earlier iron structure for vehicles — Metal Bridge (c.1812), which lies about 1.5km to the north west.
The other bridges are: Catheugh Bridge [NU139151] (1827, stone), East Brizlee Bridge [NU151155] (1933, iron girders/timber, it replaced an 1877 timber bridge), suspension footbridge [NU168158] (2009, steel/timber, it replaced a 1995 bridge), Monk’s Bridge [NU175146] (1901, timber, it replaced an 1854 bridge) and Filbert Haugh Bridge [NU177149] (1901, timber).
Duchess Bridge is thought to have replaced a timber bridge at the same spot. It was constructed in 1868 for Algernon George Percy (1810-99, 6th Duke of Northumberland) and its ironwork may have been fabricated by the Alnwick Foundry & Engineering Co (established 1837), which supplied drawings for another proposal here.
The footbridge's single span measures 22.6m with cast iron shoes at the ends. It is a lenticular truss, consisting of lower horizontal tension bars, in 38mm diameter wrought iron, and upper chords of cast iron forming a shallow segmental arch of 2.8m panels and maximum 990mm rise. Seven cast iron brackets on each side of the truss span vertically between the upper and lower members, connected transversely by horizontal and diagonal cross braces.
The truss and the arched timber deck it carries are 1.2m wide, and the deck surface is 4.9m above river level at the crown. Cast iron uprights along the deck sides support a two-rail balustrade with terminal pillars 1.2m high.
The bridge forms a link between the footpath network on either side of the river. It appears to have been re-decked, and the ironwork painted black, in the early 21st century.
Possible contractor: Alnwick Foundry & Engineering Co
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH North

Duchess Bridge, Hulne Park