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List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.


List entry Number: 1391875



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


District: Sandwell

District Type: Metropolitan Authority


National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II*

Date first listed: 08-Feb-2007

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 491439

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


1868/0/10078 SANDWELL SUMMIT BRIDGE Birmingham Canal Wolverhampton Level II*

Road bridge over the cutting of the summit of the Birmingham Canal, Old Main Line Wolverhampton Level. Constructed between 1788-9 by John Smeaton when he improved the canal by reducing the summit level from 491ft to 472ft.

MATERIALS:Constructed of red brick with brick copings and a sandstone keystone.

PLAN: It is a massive single span bridge with segmental arch. The towpath passes under the south western side.

EXTERIOR: There are protruding brick pilasters, a double string course, and curving flanking abutments with short protruding end piers. On the north western face there is a cast iron date plaque bearing the legend 'MDCCXC'.

SOURCES: `Smethwick: Communications', A History of the County of Staffordshire: Volume 17 (1976), 96-8; Date accessed: 25 September 2006; AM7 Scheduling, WM12, Smeaton's Summit Bridge, 9 May 1972.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: Smeaton's Summit Bridge, survives as an un-altered example of engineering prowess from the height of the industrial revolution. Designed by the leading civil engineer of the time, its massive proportions demonstrate technical innovation, providing an elegant solution to the requirement for a road crossing at this difficult site. The scale of the project can be seen as a precursor to later engineering projects of the railway era and ably demonstrates the technical excellence of John Smeaton. As part of the improvement scheme to the Birmingham mainline canal the Summit Bridge also provides reference to the high level of investment in, and importance of, canal navigations to the industrial development of Georgian England.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
'A History of the County of Staffordshire. Volume 17' in Smethwick: Communications, , Vol. 17, (1976), 96-98

National Grid Reference: SP 01583 89430


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End of official listing