Railway bridge across Ludgate Hill

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Railway bridge across Ludgate Hill
The rail-way bridge about to be erected across Ludgate-Hill by the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company.

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Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, the Internet Archive

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Description

View of a busy London street with a railway bridge and Saint Paul’s Cathedral in the distance. The bridge over Ludgate Hill was demolished in 1990.
The following is an excerpt of the article facing the illustration, published in the Illustrated London News on November 14, 1863:

The Ludgate-Hill Railway Viaduct

The engraving of this structure which we give on the preceding page accurately represents the bridge intended to be forthwith erected by the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company across Ludgate-Hill and the position in which it will be placed. The design is identical with that exhibited by the company in 1860 before the Parliamentary Committees of both Houses.

At the point where this bridge will cross Ludgate-Hill the street itself is only 42 ft. wide; but, as the City Corporation intend at some future time to enlarge the thoroughfare, the span is to be made 18 ft. wider than the street, and will extend, therefore, to 60 ft. It will be composed of five girders of wrought iron, which will be screened from sight by ornamental ironwork, and their straight, hard lines will be broken up by brackets of cast iron and by medallions. The latter are to be eight in number, and made of bronze, bearing alternately the city of London arms and those of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company. The City arms will be the largest and most prominent, and will be placed immediately beneath the four handsome gas-lamps by which the bridge will be lighted. The parapets will be of cast iron. The abutments, formed of dressed Portland stone, will contain staircases leading from the pavement beneath, by means of which persons may proceed to the railway station—to be situated almost directly overhead—or they may cross the bridge by one of the two footways placed at its side and communicating with the companion staircase in the opposite abutment, descend, and so avoid all danger and inconvenience in crossing a road usually thronged by horses and vehicles of all descriptions. The bridge will carry four lines of rail—two of mixed and two of narrow gauge, and it will be raised 18 ft. above the level of the street.

[…]

In regard to the various plans proposed to obviate the necessity of having a railway bridge across Ludgate-Hill, little need now be said. The chief difficulty in the way of tunnelling was the short distance from the bank of the Thames to the junction which this line must make with the Metropolitan line, and which would necessitate a very steep gradient. But this was not all. Had the line been carried under Ludgate-Hill it would have had to make a slight detour, for the purpose of easing the ascent, and the cost of constructing it would have been enormously increased. One of the most feasible of the suggestions made in regard to a change of course and to the construction of a tunnel involved the destruction of Apothecaries’ Hall, the churchyard adjoining it, the Times printing-offices, and serious interference with the foundations of St. Martin’s Church, Ludgate-Hill, the Old Bailey Sessions House, and Newgate Prison.

The railway authorities have done much in this matter towards meeting the wishes of the public, without actually imperilling the success of their own undertaking. They are about to erect a bridge which will be wide enough to admit of improvements being made in the thoroughfare beneath—one that will contrast very forcibly with the less ornamental, yet still, perhaps, useful, girder-bridge now in course of erection near London Bridge.

The designs for the Ludgate-Hill Railway Bridge were furnished by Messrs. Joseph Cubitt and F. T. Turner, joint engineers to the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Company; the architectural features being designed by Mr. John Taylor, jun., architect. The bridge, which will be commenced immediately, will, it is stated, be completed in the course of next spring.


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