080528.Weston, Victoria Bridge

May 28, 2008 at 11:35 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bridges, Light and Shadow, people, somerset, Towers | 7 Comments
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In the comments section for Gothic Cottage, Brenda and Robin both investigated the house’s occupants, and Robin in particular reported its connection with Victoria Bridge. Originally a brewer, James Dredge (1794-1863) designed Victoria Bridge near his brewery on Upper Bristol Road. Victoria was the first of nearly fifty bridges he would go on to construct as far away as India. Please read Robin’s comments at the link

061007.090.Somset.Bath.Oldfield.River Avon

above. I appreciated the link so much, it forced me to come out of retirement.

This photo was taken quite a while ago. Sainsburys is now near the bridge, which has suffered several graffitti attacks. Also, while it may be well-proportioned, its quite diminutive in size (explained by the fact that this was a first bridge its designer built–so more of a test case) — evidenced by a teen in the photo climbing its cables and mounting one of its towers.

I’d never heard of Dredge before I read them in the comments section but I like the fact that a brewer was responsible for this piece of engineering. My own undergraduate school was founded by a very wealthy nineteenth-century brewer as one of the first colleges for female education. The first building erected was massive, intended to hold everything from dormitories and classrooms to offices, the library, kitchens, and a chapel. while it was designed by a prominent architect, the brewer-founder specified that he wanted the building to be fexible internally should female education prove to be a bust and he need to recoup his losses by adaptively reusing the college building as a massive brewery. The internal layout remains that the halls within the building are large enough to roll industrial-size kegs down. The size was justified to the ladies attending that it was wide enough for two hoop dress-wearing girls to pass each other with ease.

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