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Eaton Hall Iron Bridge
River Dee, Eaton Hall, Alford, Cheshire, UK
Eaton Hall Iron Bridge
associated engineer
William Crosley Jnr
date  1824
UK era  Georgian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SJ417601
ICE reference number  HEW 856
photo  donation
One of the finest remaining examples of a Thomas Telford standard design radially-orientated ‘lozenge’ lattice-spandrel cast iron bridge — though there is no evidence that Telford himself was connected with the project. It crosses the River Dee on the Duke of Westminster's estate.
The bridge carries the names of several of Telford’s ‘team’ — William Crosley (Surveyor), William Stuttle (ClECPK of Works), William Stuttle Jnr (Founder) and William Hazledine (Contractor). The fact that the team proudly displayed their names, and that it was built for the Duke, rules out the possibility of the job being a ‘foreigner’, as there would have been no way to hide the construction of such an impressive structure, for such a client. Telford’s tacit or full approval, then, can be assumed.
The single arch spans 46m and is 5.8m from springings to crown. It consists four I-section ribs, 915mm deep by 62mm wide, cast in seven sections. The ribs are connected with wrought iron bolts and braced by transverse lattice diaphragm plates, 915mm deep and 50.8mm wide. The spandrels (infill panels between the arch and the horizontal members above) feature ornate cruciform lattice bracing. Cast iron fret ornamentation is bolted to the outer bracings.
The bridge's deck plates are bolted together but do not appear to be connected to the ribs. They are made of cast iron and measure 915mm by the full width of the bridge, 5.2m. They support the 356mm thickness of road metal. The abutments and wing walls of the bridge are of ashlar sandstone.
Extensive repairs were carried out in 1980, when some of the struts were replaced in steel.
The bridge carries an Eaton Hall Estate driveway over the river, a few metres upstream of the old ford (hence the name Aldford), once the route over the river of the Roman road called Watling Street. A public footbridge leads to the bridge over Estate land, starting from just west of Aldford Church (SJ418594).
Resident engineer: William Stuttle
Main contractor: William Hazledine
Ironwork: William Stuttle (the younger)
Research: PD
"The influence of Thomas Telford (1757-1834) on the use of improved construction materials in civil engineering practice" by R.A. Paxton, Herriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, 1975 (thesis)
"Detailed survey report" by I. MacDonald, 1935
"Report on iron bridge over River Dee, Eaton Hall Estate" by H.C. Husband, 1973
reference sources   CEH W&W

Eaton Hall Iron Bridge