Victoria Bridge, Bath

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Victoria Bridge
The Victoria Suspension Bridge, Bath - - 546748.jpg
Coordinates 51°23′00″N 2°22′24″W / 51.3834°N 2.3733°W / 51.3834; -2.3733Coordinates: 51°23′00″N 2°22′24″W / 51.3834°N 2.3733°W / 51.3834; -2.3733
Crosses River Avon
Locale Bath, England
Owner Bath and North East Somerset Council
Heritage status Grade II* listed building
Preceded by Midland Bridge
Followed by Destructer Bridge
Design cable-stayed double cantilever suspension bridge
Material Bath stone and iron
Total length 45.7 m (150 ft)
Width 5.8 m (19 ft)
No. of spans 1
Architect James Dredge, Sr.
Engineering design by Motley and Dredge
Construction start August 1836 (1836-August)
Construction end December 1836 (1836-December)
Victoria Bridge is located in Somerset
Victoria Bridge
Victoria Bridge

Victoria Bridge in Bath, England, was built in 1836 across the River Avon. The bridge has been recognised as a Grade II* listed building.[1]

The bridge is an important example of a suspension bridge which initially carried horses and carts but later carried cyclists and pedestrians.


The cable-stayed[dubious ] double cantilever bridge, built by Motley and Dredge, has a span of 45.7 metres (150 ft) with the chains slung from Bath stone towers. The road deck is joined to the chains by iron eyebars, which, unusually, are not vertical.[1] James Dredge who was a brewer in Bath designed the bridge to carry beer from his brewery across the river without using a ferry or having to detour through the city centre.[2] Construction cost £1,760.[3] He patented the 'taper principle' based on using chains rather than cables, as is now more common in suspension bridges.[2] Dredge's bridge design was considered "a very significant yet relatively short-lived phase in suspension bridge development".[4]

The main span chains have 155 links each of which is 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) long and supports two wrought iron hangers. The deck is made of wooden planks.[3]

Initially the bridge was used for horse-drawn carts but later only carried bicycles and pedestrians.

Closure and restoration[edit]

The bridge in 2008

In October 2010 the bridge was closed to users,[5] because of concerns about the safety of the beams and cables.[6] This caused criticism from cycling groups in the city.[7] It was reopened later in October 2010,[8] but then closed again.[7]

Further inspections were carried out by a structural engineer in September 2011.[9] In November 2011 the tow-path was closed and then the navigation itself was closed to all boats.[6] The bridge was listed on the Heritage at Risk register.[10]

Restoration costs were estimated at £3 million in 2011.[11] Emergency work to prop up either side of the bridge and apply temporary strapping took place in November 2011.[12] Full restoration work was originally planned to be completed by the winter of 2013.[13]

Work on restoring the bridge started in 2014, and an internal structure was fitted to render both the bridge and the canal usable during restorations. The bridge was taken apart and rebuilt with additional steel reinforcing, and repainted dark green.[14] It officially reopened on 15 January 2015.[15]


  1. ^ a b "Victoria Bridge". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "James Dredges Suspension Bridges". SABRE. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Griffiths, R. A. (April 2009), "Analysis of James Dredge's Victoria Bridge, Bath" (PDF), Proceedings of Bridge Engineering 2 Conference 2009, University of Bath, retrieved 23 November 2012 
  4. ^ McQuillan, D. (February 1994). "From brewer to bridge builder: reflections on the life and work of James Dredge". Proc. Instn Civ, Engers. 102: 34–42. 
  5. ^ "Victoria Bridge, Bath (Temporary prohibition of use by pedestrians and cyclists) Order 2010". Bath and North East Somerset Council. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Update: New row over Victoria Bridge as part of river closed to boats". This is Bath. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Cyclists fume over Bath footbridge closure saga". This is Bath. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Victoria Bridge reopens after safety probe". This is Bath. 13 October 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Unsafe Victoria Bridge in Bath reassessed". BBC. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Victoria Bridge, Victoria Bridge Road, Bath - Bath and North East Somerset (UA)". Heritage at Risk Register. English Heritage. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "Bath's Victoria Bridge restoration estimated to cost £3m". BBC. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "Victoria Bridge in Bath to be strapped up for safety". BBC. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "Victoria Bridge — update statement". Bath and North East Somerset Council. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Start made on Victoria Bridge refurbishment". Bath and North East Somerset. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Formal re-opening of Victoria Bridge following £3.4m refurbishment". Bath and North East Somerset. Retrieved 16 January 2015.