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New North Road Bridge
Regent's Canal, New North Road, Shoreditch, London, UK
New North Road Bridge
associated engineer
LG Mouchel & Partners
date  1912 - 1914
era  Modern  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  TQ324836
ICE reference number  HEW 2375
photo  Jane Joyce
Where the New North Road crosses the Regent's Canal, there's a reinforced concrete bridge. Nothing special, you might say. But this one is important. It's the oldest-surviving reinforced concrete road bridge in central London.
Reinforced concrete had been used for bridges since the turn of the 20th century. Most used the patented Hennebique system of reinforcement design, though other systems were around. Louis Gustave Mouchel, the engineer for the New North Road Bridge, was the UK agent for the Hennebique system.
The New North Road, linking Shoreditch to Highbury, was created by an Act of Parliament in 1812. A brick bridge with a span less than 8m wide was built where the road crossed the canal. The Mouchel-Hennebique bridge replaces it. Outline design for the new bridge was undertaken by T.L. Hustler, the Shoreditch Borough Engineer at the time.
The bridge spans 13m and provided 5m more clearance over the canal than its predecessor. At 17m, it is 7m wider than the brick bridge, which made things flow better it was designed for two lanes of tramway traffic. It's a typical, if late, example of a Mouchel-Hennebique beam bridge featuring girders that double as parapets.
Ducts under the footways originally carried water pipes, gas pipes and electricity cables, as well as a Post Office telegraphs main.
At the opening ceremony, a councillor was reported as stating that "Shoreditch should be proud of having given the lead to London in the construction of the ferro-concrete bridge".
The bridge has been repaired and the original detailed form of the beams has been obscured to some extent by sprayed Gunite. It's bridge number 41 on the Regent's Canal.
Outline design: T.L. Hustler
Contractor: Higgs & Co
Research: FBA
bibliography
"Mouchel: A Century of Achievement" published by Mouchel, 1997
"New North Road Bridge over the Regent's Canal: Shoreditch" by T.L. Hustler, in Ferro-concrete, 1914
reference sources   CEH Lond
Location

New North Road Bridge