Silver Street Bridge


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Bridge over the River Cam, Silver Street, Cambridge, CB3


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

Location Description:
Bridge over the River Cam, Silver Street, Cambridge, CB3
Cambridge (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Bridge over the River Cam designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1932 and built in 1958-59.

Reasons for Designation

Silver Street Bridge, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1932 and built in 1958-59, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: it is a graceful structure clad in pale Portland stone that has been carefully designed to fit into the historic streetscape, its balustraded parapet echoing the same feature on the adjacent Queens’ College;

* Architect: it was designed by Edwin Lutyens, one of the most celebrated of English architects who has over 500 buildings on the List, including a number of bridges;

* Intactness: it has not suffered any alterations, remaining in the same condition as when first built;

* Group value: it has strong group value with the many listed buildings in its immediate vicinity and makes a significant contribution to the public realm.


Silver Street Bridge was built in 1958-59 to a design of 1932 by Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869-1944). It replaced a cast-iron bridge of 1840 which was labelled on the Ordnance Survey map of 1927 as ‘Small Bridge’. An article by C. B. Stephens in the journal Cambridge University Engineering Society (1959) suggests that the original design for the bridge utilising two rows of piles at each end of a clear span was approved by the Royal Fine Arts Commission. Permission to drive the piles was refused by Queens College and The Anchor public house, however, due to concerns over the potential damage to existing historic buildings. Lutyens, who was a member of the Royal Fine Arts Commission from 1924 until his death, put forward a design for a reinforced concrete bridge resting on rafts. The Commission insisted that the bridge be clad in Portland stone to preserve the character of the area. The bridge remains unaltered since its construction.

Lutyens is one of the greatest architects the country has ever produced. He trained at the National Art Training School and in the office of Ernest George and Peto before setting up his own practice at the age of nineteen. He was a prolific and endlessly inventive architect, designing buildings as diverse as the Arts and Crafts Munstead Wood in Surrey (1895-7) for Gertrude Jekyll, the austere Castle Drogo in Devon (1912-30), the Cenotaph in Whitehall (1920), as well as buildings for Hampstead Garden Suburb and the new Indian capital of Delhi. Lutyens has well over five hundred listed buildings to his name, many of them at high grade.


Bridge over the River Cam designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1932 and built in 1958-59.

MATERIALS: Reinforced concrete clad in ashlared Portland stone.

PLAN: The bridge spans east-west over the River Cam.

EXTERIOR: The bridge consists of a single shallow arch with a parapet that has a moulded plinth and cornice, and is pierced by six groups of four balusters with engaged balusters either side. The south parapet extends at a right angle to form a balustrade for a flight of steps down to the east bank; and extends further along the west bank in a subtle curve.


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Cambridgeshire, (1970)
, accessed from


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

End of official listing

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