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Cardington Bridge
Cardington Brook, Cardington, Bedfordshire, UK
associated engineer
John Smeaton
date  1778
UK era  Georgian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  TL082484
ICE reference number  HEW 1918
The five-arch Cardington Bridge crosses a brook on the Whitbread Estate near Cardington, east of Bedford. It was designed by John Smeaton for Samuel Whitbread.
The Whitbread family were major landowners in the Cardington area from the 18th century onwards and continued to acquire land and property as it became available. Samual Whitbread was instrumental in making considerable estate improvements as well as the addition of this bridge.
In 1778, he engaged Smeaton to design the bridge for Cardington Brook, a tributory of the River Ouse. It carries the road north from the local village to the join the main Bedford to Sandy road.
Cardington Bridge is one of only two brick bridges by Smeaton. It has five segmental arches, each spanning 1.82m. A double row of bricks on edge frames each arch, with a keystone at the midpoint. The brick piers have modest pointed cutwaters at both ends. The width of the bridge is 6.6m between parapets.
The key stones of the three central arches bear the legends: “J Smeaton Eng”, “SW 1778” and “S Green Surv”.
Smeaton also worked on the rebuilding of the local mill for Whitbread (1786). However, the building was destroyed by fire in 1823.
In spring 2007, the local council carried out bridge strengthening works.
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH E&SJS

Cardington Bridge