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Bradford Bridge
River Ribble, West Bradford, Lancashire, UK
Bradford Bridge
associated engineer
McLandsborough & Preston
date  c1888 - 1891
era  Victorian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SD744439
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
Bradford Bridge, also known as Horrocksford Bridge, spans the River Ribble between West Bradford and Horrocksford cement works, north east of Clitheroe. Its narrow roadway and a sharp bend at the north west approach hamper traffic flow, resulting in quite a lot of vehicle impact damage and the need for ongoing repair works.
Before the present masonry bridge was constructed, the river was crossed at this point by a ford, and later a timber bridge (now gone).
Bradford Bridge is 48.9m long overall and constructed in the vernacular ‘County’ style. Measuring from the south, its four segmental circular arches span 4.8m, 11.1m, 10.9m and 10.9m. Their rises are 1.1m, 2.28m, 2.2m and 2.6m respectively. The barrel vaulting of the arch soffits is in multi-ring brickwork, five rings for the largest three arches and four rings for the southern arch.
The river piers are of coursed rusticated stone blocks, with pointed cutwaters on their upstream and downstream sides. The voussoir (wedge-shaped) stones to all the arches are laid in single rings and the southern arch has a keystone — the rings of voussoirs to all the other arches meet the stringcourse.
The bridge’s masonry spandrels, and solid parapets above, are laid irregularly. The parapets are capped with coping stones and enclose a deck 3.8m wide. The voussoirs, parapets and wing walls are in sandstone, the spandrels in limestone.
The bridge was financed by public subscription. The list opened in January 1888 and the principal subscribers included Edward Burton (£100), who also gifted land for the West Bradford approach, John Holgate (£100) and Clitheroe Corporation (£50). It was engineered by McLandsborough & Preston (partnership of John McLandsborough and Alfred Eley Preston, dissolved 31st December 1895) of Bradford and constructed by Henry Holden.
An invoice dated 18th April 1891, shows the construction cost as £662 9s 11d (£662.50). A report of the same date describes the bridge as "very creditably executed" and "in thoroughly good order for wheeled traffic".
The bridge carries a single lane of traffic. Even so, there's not a lot of room for manoeuvrability because of the sharp right bend in the road at the north west end of the crossing. The parapet at this spot is frequently damaged. In July 2009, the bridge closed to vehicles for repairs after a truck collided with the parapet. Foot and cycle access was maintained during the works.
In November 2017, another traffic accident caused extensive damage and the bridge closed to vehicles. In December, it also closed to pedestrians and cyclists to allow scaffolding erection for repairs to the north west half of the bridge. Lancashire County Council anticipates the road over the bridge will remain closed until March 2019.
Clerk of works: Mr Kempson, Bradford
Contractor: Henry Holden, Clitheroe
Research: PHEW
bibliography
"The Ancient Bridges of the North of England" by E. Jervoise
EP Publishing Ltd, 1973
http://mario.lancashire.gov.uk
www.burnleyexpress.net
www.clitheroeadvertiser.co.uk
www.lancashire.gov.uk
www.thegazette.co.uk
Thanks to David Hurford for additional information
Location

Bradford Bridge