080528.Weston, Victoria Bridge

May 28, 2008 at 11:35 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bridges, Light and Shadow, people, somerset, Towers | 7 Comments

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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  1. […] with Victoria Bridge. Originally a brewer, James Dredge 1794-1863 designed Victoria Bridge near hishttps://bathdailyphoto.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/080528westmoreland-victoria-bridge/Shake-up on tap for Grupo Modelo San Antonio Express-News & KENS 5Belgian brewer InBev’s 46 billion […]

  2. It’s a really great angle silhouetted against that gorgoues blue sky.

  3. I thought the reason behind Main Building’s wide hallways had never been officially determined and EVERYTHING was a myth.

    P.S. Nice bridge you’ve got there.

  4. Hi,

    I came to your blog by chance looking through the net. Your pictures are beautiful. For me they are a way to feel closer to someone very special who has recently moved to Bath, far from my city. Funny how your pictutes make me feel. Congrats for your blog.


  5. James,
    So refreshing to see that you are still hanging around the blogosphere. A few photos here and there are better than none!

  6. “In 1836, James Dredge of Bath patented his ‘taper principle,’ in which he proposed that both suspension chains of reducing thickness and inclined wedges be used in the construction of suspension bridges. The advantages of Dredge’s system were threefold. The decreasing thickness of the chains links reduced, in turn, the weight of the bridge, the amount of the wrought iron required to erect it and the time required for its construction. Dredge went on to build some 50 such bridges, five of which were erected in Ulster in the period 1843-8 but, while many of these are no longer extent in Britain, three of the Irish examples survive. These latter included the 71 ft (21.64 m) span suspension bridge at Caledon, manufactured by the Armagh Foundry in 1845, the 66 ft (20.11 m) span Moyola Bridge (1846) at Castledawson and the Ballievig Bridge at Banbridge (1845).” Colin Rynne, Industrial Ireland 1750-1930: An Archaeology (Cork: The Collins Press, 2006), 335.

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