London Road viaduct

Completed in 1846

by John Blackwell

Designed by John Urpeth Raistrick, and completed in 1846, this magnificent structure constructed on a curve has 27 arches with a maximum height of 20m (67ft) and is 359m (386 yds) long. It took only ten months to build using some ten million bricks, a superb achievement. Opponents of the viaduct had argued that an embankment would not only be less costly, but also less likely to be blown up by enemy action. It was only 30 years after the Battle of Waterloo and the fear of invasion by the French had not receded.

Bombed in 1943
However, nearly 100 years later, on May 25th 1943, 25 German Focke Wolfe fighters swept in across the Channel for a typical hit and run raid. One released a bomb that bounced off of Campbell Road and through number 2 Argyll Villas, entering just above the semi basement window and leaving by the rear first floor window. Incredibly the bomb then travelled along the first floor of a workshop before exploding against a pier of the viaduct, demolishing it and bringing down two arches, leaving the track suspended in mid air.

A supporting steel structure was put in place and vital wartime traffic was running within a few days. Permanent repairs took a little longer and the replacement brick pier and arches can be easily discerned from the cul-de-sac opposite Campbell Road.

This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
By Peter 'Art' Lewry (14/11/2004)

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