Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Holborn Viaduct

Standing at Ludgate Circus, London, look east up Ludgate Hill you should have had a clear view of St Paul’s Cathedral, but through inept city planning the view is blocked by a conglomeration of office blocks. Look south down New Bridge Street you see Blackfriars Bridge. West you look up Fleet Street, formerly the “Street of Shame”, (I’ll have to write a blog about this famous thoroughfare). Look north and you see Farrington Street, standing at this point before 1765 and you would have seen the Fleet River flowing down the valley towards the Thames, (on quiet nights, place your ear to the ground and you will hear the river flowing through a subterranean channel). Look along Farrington Street and you will see Holborn Viaduct spanning the Fleet valley.

The Viaduct designed by the City of London Surveyor William Heywood was built between 1863 and 1869 and was opened by Queen Victoria in 1896.

It was built to improve access from the city of London to the west. Before its construction horse drawn vehicles travelling west from the City had to climb the steep-sided Holborn Hill.

In the 1860’s they didn’t just build bridges, it was a statement - Holborn Viaduct epitomises the grandeur of the age, the British Empire was at its zenith, Victoria was the Queen Empress ruling over Canada, Australia, New Zealand, most of Africa, and the Jewel of the Empire the Indian sub-continent.

Constructed from cast iron beams resting on granite columns the details incorporated is magnificent, as you can see from the slide show (if it doesn’t start automatically click the “start tab”).

Tomorrow in Memorial Day blog, I will describe and show the sculptures adorning the viaduct.

In the mean time click hear to enter the YesBut Image caption competition.

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