Reasons for Designation
The bridge and approach viaduct are designated for the following principal reasons:
* The bridge retains sufficient 1848 fabric to be of special architectural and historic interest as an early railway structure, including a handsome brick viaduct in Richmond Deer Park.
* The 1908 work on the reconstruction of the girders in steel is itself of note for its elegance and connection with a significant engineer, whose other major work was the platforms and vast ridge and furrow roof at Waterloo Station.
* Richmond Rail Bridge has strong group value with Richmond Bridge (Grade I), Twickenham Bridge (Grade II*) and Richmond Lock and Weir Footbridge (Grade II*).
* The succession of bridges here is most significant, with the engineering feats of three consecutive centuries represented, the C20 by Twickenham Bridge of 1933 by Maxwell Ayrton, the C19 by Richmond Railway Bridge and the Footbridge of 1891, and the C18 by the culmination of the sequence and the oldest Greater London river crossing, Richmond Bridge of 1777, by James Paine and Kenton Couse.
TQ 1774; 22/19/10084
Richmond Railway Bridge and approach viaduct
Railway bridge, 1908 by J W Jacomb-Hood, incorporating fabric of 1848 by Joseph Locke, and approach viaduct, 1848. Girders and decking replaced in 1984.
DESCRIPTION: Richmond Railway Bridge is 91.5m long and consists of three 30.5m steel arch-girder spans that are supported on stone-faced brick arched abutments and two stone-faced brick river piers with rounded cutwaters. The principal elements in the steel superstructure are the four shallow-arched ribs of each span, which are pinned at their ends to permit movement, and which are braced together as two pairs. In effect there are two separate steel arch bridges side-by-side, each supporting a line of track. Despite being fabricated from steel, these structural members reproduce the original arched profile of the former cast-iron arches. Similarly, the bridge reproduces the distinctive open spandrels with vertical dividers of the 1840s structure - a feature also present on the nearby Richmond Sluice and Half-Tide Dock (1891-94). The bridge carries a plaque by the towpath arch which reads 'Richmond Bridge / made and erected by / the Horseley and Co Ld / London and Tipton / 1908'.
The 1848 approach viaduct to the north comprises six arches with red brick voussoirs, banded piers containing small niches and a panelled parapet. The sixth arch, furthest from the railway bridge, is blind but for an ornate round-arched opening compete with original railings. The viaduct continues north-eastwards in a plainer, stock brick design with a slightly splayed base and a simple dentil cornice until the land levels off. Both sections are largely unaltered. Although the special interest of the first six arches is greater, the second section is included in the listing for its earliness in the history of the railways, monumentality and simple decorative features.
HISTORY: The present Richmond Railway Bridge was completed in 1908 and incorporated fabric of the previous bridge of 1848. It was designed by John Wykeham Jacomb-Hood (1859-1914), the chief engineer of the London & South Western Railway, and fabricated and erected by the Horseley Bridge Company in 1906. Jacomb-Hood reused the piers and abutments of the old bridge, although steel rather than iron was used for the new superstructure. In 1984, the main bridge girders and decking were replaced. Despite the series of renewals, the bridge retains the overall appearance of the 1848 structure and a significant proportion of historic fabric survives, including, on the Surrey side, a handsome approach viaduct, the first six arches of which have red brick voussoirs and panelling; the viaduct carries the line across Richmond Old Deer Park and so the decoration was insisted on by the Crown Commissioners, with whom responsibility for the Park lay.
The original Richmond Railway Bridge was built by the Richmond Company from 1846 as part of a six-mile line to Clapham Junction to connect Richmond with Waterloo. The arched girder rail bridge was originally named the Richmond Windsor and Staines Railway Bridge, having been opened as part of the Windsor, Staines and South Western Railway which was quickly taken over by the London and South Western Railway. This original bridge, completed in 1848, was designed by the engineer Joseph Locke (1805-60) with J E Errington (1806-62) and erected by the renowned contractor Thomas Brassey (1805-70). However, the collapse of a similar cast-iron beam bridge near Norbury Junction in 1891 prompted concern over the safety of this original bridge, resulting in its eventual replacement. Locke and Errington's 1848 bridge was notable for being one of the first railway bridges to cross the Thames. The initial phase of railway expansion in the 1840s had little impact on the Thames, in part because a parliamentary prohibition on surface railways in central London. The ban was lifted in 1846 but by this time the distinctive ring of railway termini around central London had been built and there was little financial incentive for companies to link the north and south banks. The first railway crossings were therefore built in outlying districts: the first, Barnes, was complete by 1848 (listed Grade II) and this bridge at Richmond followed soon after.
SOURCES: G Phillips, 'Thames Crossings' (1981), 170.
This List entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 24/10/2016