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Twickenham Bridge
River Thames, Twickenham
associated engineer
Alfred Dryland
date  1st June 1931 - 3rd July 1933
UK era  Modern  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  TQ170748
ICE reference number  HEW 2250
The first large reinforced concrete bridge in Britain to use permanent hinges to link its arches. The advantage of hinging the arches is that it allows the bridge to adjust itself in response to changes in temperature.
Twickenham Bridge is one of three new Thames crossings opened in 1933. Twickenham and Chiswick Bridges were both part of the new Chertsey arterial route (A316). They were engineered by Dryland, then County Engineer of Middlesex . The third bridge was the new one at Hampden Court, engineered by W. P. Robinson.
The new road route was intended to relieve congestion on Hammersmith Bridge and bypass the narrow streets of Richmond, where the old bridge had not yet been widened. Twickenham Bridge was at first to be called Richmond Bridge but this was eventually thought too confusing.
The architect appointed was Maxwell Aryton. His first design featured two towers on each bank and high flanking walls. This design was widely opposed and Aryton agreed to modify it. The resulting bridge has an art deco flavour. Its three hinged river arches rest on river piers with cutwaters, the upper sides of which feature precast concrete deco-style shapes. Above these, the arch springings, as well as the arch crowns, have decorative bronze cover plates.
Ribbed shuttering was used in the casting of the concrete piers and abutments, giving the main faces a ribbed finish that was then knocked back. This created an effect not unlike coarse tooled masonry. The other non-precast surfaces were bush hammered. The approach viaduct and retaining walls were constructed in precast blocks that were wire brushed within 12 hours of casting to create a similar rough finish.
The central span measures 31.8m and the two side river-spans 30m each. There are two land arches of 17m span. The roadway was designed as 12.2m wide with two 4.6m footpaths. The balustrades on the bridge and staircase are of open bronzework.
The bridge was opened on the 3rd July 1933 by HRH Edward, the Prince of Wales. Major repairs were undertaken in 1994 over a period of five months.
Architect: Maxwell Ayrton
Associated engineer: Considere Constructions Ltd
Contractor: Aubrey Watson Ltd
reference sources   CEH LondBBCR

Twickenham Bridge