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Metal Bridge, Hulne Park
River Aln, Hulne Park, Alnwick, Northumberland, UK
Metal Bridge, Hulne Park
associated engineer
Not known
date  1812
era  Georgian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  NU161152
ICE reference number  HEW 1328
photo  © Bryan Pready and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
One of two interesting iron bridges in Hulne Park, site of Hulne Priory — one of the earliest Carmelite friaries in England. The bridges were constructed for the Percy family, the Dukes of Northumberland, who own the park and nearby Alnwick Castle. The Metal Bridge is well maintained and remains in use.
Hulne Priory was founded in 1240 and dissolved in 1538, though parts of the buildings survive. The friary and its lands became one of the estates associated with Alnwick Castle, providing timber and meat. These days, the former priory lands are a public park (foot traffic only).
Hulne Park has seven bridges over the River Aln, and this one, Metal Bridge, is perhaps the finest and certainly the earliest, completed in 1812. The other notable iron bridge in the grounds is the later Duchess Bridge about 1.5km to the south east, which dates from 1868.
The park's other five 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).
Metal Bridge was designed for horse-drawn carriages. Its carriageway slopes upwards from the squared stone abutments on the river banks to the crown and is supported on three semicircular arch spans. The slender structure is some 4.6m high in the centre , with symmetrical elevations — flanking spans of 6.4m with 3.2m rise, and a central span of 7.3m with 3.65m rise.
The bridge's two parallel arches consist of three wrought iron girder ribs. Two masonry cutwater piers in the river support wrought iron columns (two per arch, four in total) that are bolted to the underside of the bridge deck, and cross-braced with transfer arches. The openwork spandrel panels and abutment brackets are filled with wrought iron hoops. The abutments are of red brick.
The 3.4m wide deck is made of plated iron and is supported on fish-bellied beams bolted to the edge girders. Decorative plaques featuring crowned crescents and the Percy lion rampant are fixed to the edge girders at the column heads and arch centres. The balustrade is of cast iron, with railings topped by ornamental openwork. Cast iron uprights are located at the land side of the abutments and at the arch springings.
Metal Bridge was designed by architect David Stephenson (1757-1819) for Hugh Percy (1742-1817, 2nd Duke of Northumberland) with ironwork by brothers Isaac Cookson (1776–1851) and Thomas Cookson (1779–1863) of the Closegate Foundry in Newcastle.
The bridge was Grade II* listed in August 1987. Its deck has been concreted over and the ironwork painted black.
Architect: David Stephenson
Ironwork: Isaac & Thomas Cookson, Closegate Foundry
Research: ECPK
bibliography
www.bridgesonthetyne.co.uk
www.gracesguide.co.uk
www.ice.org
www.parksandgardens.org
www.visionofbritain.org.uk
reference sources   CEH NorthBDCE1ODNB
Location

Metal Bridge, Hulne Park