Jackson's Bridge


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Adjacent to Jackson's Boat public house.
Statutory Address:
Rifle Road, Sale, Manchester, M33 2LX


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Statutory Address:
Rifle Road, Sale, Manchester, M33 2LX

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

Location Description:
Adjacent to Jackson's Boat public house.
Manchester (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
Trafford (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Wrought-iron footbridge, 1881, for John Brooks, by E T Bellhouse and Co, Manchester.

Reasons for Designation

Jackson’s Bridge, built 1881 by E T Bellhouse, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: Architectural interest:

* a daring design, producing an unusually long and light single-span, wrought-iron footbridge;

* an extremely rare use of through trusses with semi-circular struts to maximise strength and to minimise weight; being at the very limit of wrought-iron technology when it was built;

* an important survival of a rare form of C19 wrought-iron footbridge;

Historic interest:

* designed and built by the well-known and respected Manchester engineering and iron-foundry company - E T Bellhouse and Co of Eagle Foundry;

* the bridge is situated at an important and well established historic crossing point of the River Mersey, having replaced an earlier timber trestle bridge.


Jackson’s Bridge forms a crossing of the River Mersey; it is adjacent to a public house, called Jackson’s Boat. The existing wrought-iron bridge replaced an earlier timber trestle toll bridge that was washed away by a flood in 1880, resulting in the then publican John Brooks contracting the well-known Manchester engineers and iron founders E T Bellhouse and Co, Eagle Foundry, to build a new single-span wrought-iron toll footbridge; this was completed during the following year. Tolls continued to be collected for crossing the bridge until the late 1940s, when it was purchased by Manchester Corporation and the tolls were abolished. The bridge was originally approached from either end by stone sett ramps; however, during the late C20, the north-eastern ramp was removed and replaced by a short flight of steps, which proved an obstacle for cyclists and disabled users alike. These were replaced in 2014 by a concrete ramp: the bridge is now situated on two popular cycling routes.

The eldest son of the engineer and iron founder David Bellhouse, Edward Taylor Bellhouse (1816-81) was one of the leading engineers in Manchester in the C19, and the founder of the firm of the same name in 1842, which grew in a very short space of time to be one of the principal engineering establishments in Manchester, and an exhibitor at the 1851 Great Exhibition. The firm was known for the production of hydraulic pumps and cotton presses, railway bridges, cast-iron beams, columns and large-span iron roofs. The company was also well known for its pre-fabricated iron buildings, including the Category A listed Iron Ballroom, built for Prince Albert at Balmoral Castle, Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire (Historic Scotland Designation Reference LB51479) and the preserved gable-roofed cottage in Fitzroy, Melbourne, managed by the National Trust of Australia. Substantial structural elements of the Grade II-listed former Lower Campfields Market, Manchester, were also produced by E T Bellhouse (National Heritage List for England 1200807).


MATERIALS: riveted wrought-iron girders, steel arch struts, cast-iron piers, timber decking, and a stone sett approach ramp.

PLAN: a single-span footbridge raised on piers, with arched wrought-iron ramps to each end, and approached by a stone sett ramp from the south-west.

DESCRIPTION: a single-span footbridge, built using a pair of riveted wrought-iron through trusses, formed of a series of composite stringers (bottom chords) and upper girder beams (top chords), riveted together by flange and soffit plates, to provide the necessary 30.48m (100ft) length of span. The stringers and upper girder beams are connected by pairs of struts riveted to gusset plates, forming triangular panels, with flat riveted wrought-iron bars producing the lattice parapets and handrails. The ends of the upper beams of the trusses are bent over, to form the braced ends of the bridge, which rest on round section cast-iron piers that are set into the river banks. The two trusses are connected by floor beams and five round arch steel struts. The web of the south-western arch strut has an inscription in relief that reads E.T. BELLHOUSE AND CO MANCHESTER 1881. The floor beams are connected by screw tensioned, lateral wind bracing bars, forming a criss-cross arrangement beneath the decking. The ends of the decking planks rest on the inner flanges of the stringers and are held in place by transverse wrought-iron creep plates, with timber kerbs screwed into the decking. Each end of the bridge is approached by a short wrought-iron arched ramp, constructed in a similar manner to the bridge, but at half the height of the trusses, with the upper girder beams forming the hand rail. The south-western ramp rests directly onto the western river bank and is approached by a stone sett ramp that rises from Rifle Road. The north-eastern ramp terminates against a modern concrete cycle and disabled access ramp, set at a right-angle to the bridge (this modern ramp is not included in the listing).


British Listed Buildings - Balmoral Castle, Iron Ballroom, Joiner's Shop, accessed 29 August 2018 from https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/200400411-balmoral-castle-iron-ballroom-joiners-workshop-aboyne-upper-deeside-and-donside-ward#.W4Z4aXpJYaw
Chorlton History Blog - A bridge, a toll and illegal prize fights, all by the Mersey, accessed 24 August 2018 from https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.com/2012/08/a-bridge-toll-and-illegal-prize-fights.html
Cyclestreet.net Photomap, accessed 24 August 2018 from https://www.cyclestreets.net/location/56947/
Jackson's Boat, accessed 24 August 2018 from http://www.susannabavin.co.uk/deserter_s_daughter.html
Save Jackson's Boat foot bridge, accessed 24 August 2018 from https://www.change.org/p/trafford-council-save-jackson-s-boat-foot-bridge
Statistics UWO, Chapter 4, E T Bellhouse and Co, accessed 29 August 2018 from http://www.stats.uwo.ca/faculty/bellhouse/chapter4.pdf


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

The listed building is shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building but not coloured blue on the map, are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act. However, any works to these structures which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require Listed Building Consent (LBC) and this is a matter for the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to determine.

End of official listing

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