Railway tunnel portals MVL3/86 and MVL3/87, west end of Gledholt Tunnels


Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1134436

Date first listed: 29-Sep-1978

Date of most recent amendment: 23-Mar-2018

Location Description: Gledholt Bank, Huddersfield


Ordnance survey map of Railway tunnel portals MVL3/86 and MVL3/87, west end of Gledholt Tunnels
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Location Description: Gledholt Bank, Huddersfield

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Kirklees (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Grid Reference: SE1343616349


A pair of tunnel portals; the north portal built in 1845-1849 for the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway line to the design of the engineer Alfred Stanistreet Jee, with the south portal added in 1882-1886 under the engineer J J Lee.

Reasons for Designation

Gledholt Tunnels west portals, constructed in 1845-1849 for the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway and 1882-1886, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic interest:

* as the west portal to Gledholt North Tunnel constructed in 1845-49, during the heroic age of railway building, by the notable railway engineer Alfred Stanistreet Jee; * as the west portal to Gledholt South Tunnel of 1882-1886, which well demonstrates the later development and widening of the railway line;

Architectural interest:

* the tunnel portals are well constructed, including semi-circular arches with quarry-faced voussoirs, flanked by raked piers and wing walls surmounted by an ashlar roll moulding and parapet, lifting their design above the purely functional; * the tunnel portals retain a high degree of survival of the original fabric;

Group value:

* with the Grade II-listed railway portals at the east end of Gledholt North and South Tunnels, and, more widely, the other listed structures designed by Jee on the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway line.


In contrast to the main trunk lines of the late 1830s that were constructed by single railway companies the route from Stalybridge to Leeds had fragmented origins and was the work of three different railway companies: the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway, Leeds, Dewsbury & Manchester Railway, and the Manchester & Leeds Railway.

The Huddersfield & Manchester Railway was authorised in 1845 and followed the route of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal for much of its length, including a railway tunnel through the Pennine hills set alongside the earlier Standedge Canal Company tunnel of 1811; in 1846 the railway company also acquired the canal. Joseph Locke and Alfred Stanistreet Jee were appointed to survey and design the new line, the two engineers having already worked together on a major project linking Manchester and Sheffield. Jee became the lead engineer for the Huddersfield line, which passed through challenging terrain, assisted by resident engineers that included his brother Moreland Jee (until 1848) and Herbert F Mackworth. Construction of the line was divided into various contracts, with many contractors being only responsible for a single cutting, viaduct or tunnel portal. The largest contract for the Standedge Tunnel between Diggle and Marsden was let to a single contractor, Thomas Nicholson in 1847. The tunnel's completion in 1849 marked the opening of the line.

The Leeds end of the route, which was also authorised in 1845, was constructed by the Leeds, Dewsbury & Manchester Railway. The engineer was Thomas Grainger who had previously largely worked in Scotland, and the line was completed in 1849.

A short three-mile section of the route between Heaton Lodge Junction and Thornhill Junction near Mirfield was developed by the Manchester & Leeds Railway and was constructed between 1837 and 1840, with George Stephenson as the chief engineer. The structures on this line were designed by Thomas Gooch under the oversight of Stephenson. In 1847 the railway company changed its name to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway.

In 1847 the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway and the Leeds, Dewsbury & Manchester Railway were acquired by the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) so that the company could access the city of Leeds and the textile towns of West Yorkshire. This pitted them as rivals to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, although at points on the route the two companies had to work together. By 1851 the London & North Western Railway had an overall mileage of railway track of 800 miles and it became the most prominent railway company in the country and the largest joint-stock concern in the world in the late C19. Although the LNWR had a general manager, Captain Mark Huish, the lines of the Stalybridge to Leeds route still managed their own affairs. LNWR later carried out expansion works, including the widening of tracks and bridges, the construction of additional tunnels, and station alterations. In 1923 the line became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway, and subsequently part of the nationalised British Railways in 1948. The line, its structures and track are currently (2018) owned by Network Rail, and the passenger services operated by TransPennine Express and Northern Rail.

The west portals to Gledholt North Tunnel and Gledholt South Tunnel are built to a matching design alongside each other but of different dates. Gledholt North Tunnel was constructed between 1845 and 1849 for the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway. It was originally conceived as a single tunnel with Huddersfield North Tunnel until the engineer, Alfred Stanistreet Jee, decided to insert Springwood Cutting during the design process. The tunnel was 243 yards long, carrying the up and down main lines along this part of the route. It is shown on the 1851 town plan (1:1,056). The contractor may have been Thomas Nicholson, who also completed Standedge Tunnel. Between 1882 and 1886 a second tunnel, Gledholt South Tunnel, was built alongside it. It was constructed by Garbutt and Owen under the resident engineer J J Lee jointly for the London & North Western Railway and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. The tunnel was authorised following an 1882 Act to create additional (slow) lines and officially opened on 10 October 1886. The earlier tunnel closed the same day for repairs, reopening over two months later on 12 December 1886.


A pair of tunnel portals; the north portal built between 1845 and 1849 for the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway line to the design of the engineer Alfred Stanistreet Jee, with the south portal added between 1882 and 1886 under the engineer J J Lee.

MATERIALS: coursed and squared quarry-faced gritstone with ashlar dressings.

DESCRIPTION: the west portals of Gledholt Tunnels are situated in a cutting near Gledholt Bank road. The portals are of a similar design set into a coursed and squared quarry-faced gritstone wall. They are each formed of a semi-circular arch with quarry-faced voussoirs flanked by wide, raked quarry-faced piers and wing walls. Running above the arch is a bold ashlar roll moulding, carried across the piers and wing walls, surmounted by an ashlar parapet.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 339454

Legacy System: LBS


TransPennine Route Statement of History and Significance: West of Leeds V3.1. Prepared for Network Rail, March 2017. Alan Baxter Ltd.

End of official listing