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Braithwaite Viaduct

A Grade II Listed Building in Spitalfields & Banglatown, London

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Latitude: 51.5229 / 51°31'22"N

Longitude: -0.0735 / 0°4'24"W

OS Eastings: 533747

OS Northings: 182202

OS Grid: TQ337822

Mapcode National: GBR W8.M8

Mapcode Global: VHGQT.NZZF

Plus Code: 9C3XGWFG+5H

Entry Name: Braithwaite Viaduct

Listing Date: 8 March 2002

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1063895

English Heritage Legacy ID: 488529

Location: Weavers, Tower Hamlets, London, E1

County: London

District: Tower Hamlets

Electoral Ward/Division: Spitalfields & Banglatown

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Tower Hamlets

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Christ Church Spitalfields

Church of England Diocese: London

Tagged with: Building

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The surviving 260 metres of a viaduct built by the Eastern Counties Railway Company between 1839 and 1842 to a plan by John Braithwaite, the company architect. It was designed to carry trains into the terminus of Shoreditch Station (later called Bishopsgate Station, then superseded in 1875 by Liverpool Street Station). It was originally about 2 kilometres long and carried two lines of track on a series of broad elliptical vaults. The surviving section contains piers supporting 20 arches. It is built of stock brick from various sources, and the piers are decorated by stone impost bands and rendered plinths. The Gothic style of cross vaulting was an unusual choice, set against the Italianate style of the station building. The structure of the Viaduct is reminiscent of earlier canal architecture than it is of the more standardised railway architecture that was to follow. The piers are pierced by one, two or three pointed cross vaults which allowed pedestrian traffic to travel below the viaduct. This was intended to minimise the disruption to movement in the area and thus, lessen the impact of the railway line on local life. Shoreditch Station was remodelled between 1877 and 1881, and that new development encased the Viaduct between extensive vaults to north and south, the whole supporting a vast goodsyard on the upper deck. The surviving section of the Viaduct was reduced by approximately 2 metres before the bonding of the new vaults to its current width of 14 metres, although the foundations of the original piers survive to their full width.
The Braithwaite Viaduct is a very early and rare example of a railway viaduct associated with a first generation London Terminus. Its unusual and individual design and use of materials set it apart both structurally and visually from the more standards forms of railway architecture. It is associated with an important phase of railway development and bridges the period between distinct canal and later distinct railway engineering forms.
The gates and forecourt walls of the Goodsyard are already listed. None of the other buildings or structures on the site (including structures adjoining the Viaduct) are of special interest.

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