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Miller Bridge
River Kent, Kendal, Cumbria
Miller Bridge
associated engineer
Francis Webster
date  May 1818 - November 1818
era  Georgian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SD516926
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
There are three masonry arch bridges in Kendal, of which Miller Bridge is the most recently constructed. Situated on the River Kent, it was built in 1818 by Francis Webster, a prominent Kendal stonemason (b.1767). Its robust construction protected it from the flooding that had destroyed previous bridges on the same site.
There was originally a timber bridge at this point on the river, connecting the town and the castle corn mill. Because the timber structure was repeatedly washed away by floods, it was rebuilt in stone in 1743, and again in 1818, the date of the present bridge.
The 1818 work was carried out as part of a programme of local improvements made by Kendal Town Corporation. In anticipation of the opening of the northernmost section of the Lancaster Canal (from Tewitfield Locks to Kendal), the Corporation built a number of wharves and warehouses. The decision to rebuild Miller's Bridge, at a cost of some £7,000, was taken because the existing bridge was considered too narrow and ill-adapted to the traffic expected to be generated by coming of the canal.
The new bridge has three elegant elliptical arches with single rings of voussoirs on edge, no ribs underneath the arches or pedestrian refuges at deck level, solid parapets, and rounded cutwaters both upstream and downstream faces. The bridge is constructed of local limestone and bears the date “MDCCCXVIII” cut into a rectangular panel in the central downstream parapet on the outside of the bridge.
The foundation stone for Miller Bridge was laid in May 1818 and the bridge was opened in November of the same year. It is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Research: PD and AJD
bibliography
"The Ancient Bridges of the North of England" by E. Jervoise
EP Publishing Limited, 1973
"A Walker's Guide to the Lancaster Canal" by Robert Swain
Cicerone Press, Milnthorpe, 1998
www.visitcumbria.com/sl/kendal-bridges.htm
Location

Miller Bridge