History in Structure

Bridge in Sydney Gardens

A Grade II* Listed Building in Bathwick, Bath and North East Somerset

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Latitude: 51.3868 / 51°23'12"N

Longitude: -2.3481 / 2°20'53"W

OS Eastings: 375870

OS Northings: 165366

OS Grid: ST758653

Mapcode National: GBR 0QB.TCK

Mapcode Global: VH96M.7DZQ

Plus Code: 9C3V9MP2+PP

Entry Name: Bridge in Sydney Gardens

Listing Date: 11 August 1972

Last Amended: 15 October 2010

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1395952

English Heritage Legacy ID: 511361

ID on this website: 101395952

Location: Sydney Gardens, Bathwick, Bath and North East Somerset, Somerset, BA2

County: Bath and North East Somerset

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Bath

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Tagged with: Bridge Footbridge

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Bridge in Sydney Gardens (Formerly Listed as: KENNET AND AVON CANAL Bridge over Canal)


A footbridge over the Kennet and Avon Canal, dated 1800, designed by John Rennie, engineer, and manufactured by the Coalbrookdale factory at Ironbridge.
MATERIALS: The structure is of cast iron, set on coped ashlar abutments.
PLAN: The bridge is a single span measuring c.12m, with a width of c.6.5m, and is set on a pronounced skew of around 45 degrees.
EXTERIOR: The bridge is formed from seven segmental arches with panelled intrados, and a cornice which forms the plinth to the balustrade above; the balustrade is formed from separate, vertical trellised panels which support the continuous handrail. At the vertex of the arch is a cast iron date plaque inscribed 'ERECTED / ANNO / 1800'.
HISTORY: Sydney Gardens were laid out as commercial pleasure grounds between 1792 and 1794; the initial design was by the architect Thomas Baldwin, who, after he went bankrupt, was replaced by Charles Harcourt Masters in 1794. They were opened on 11 May 1795 as Sydney Gardens Vauxhall, and rapidly became a popular place of entertainment, hosting public breakfasts, promenades and galas. The main building was the Sydney Tavern (now the Holburne of Menstrie Museum), which stood at the western end of the central walk, and housed tea and card rooms, a ballroom, coffee room and a public house. In 1799, a section of the Kennet and Avon Canal (authorised 1794; opened 1810) was cut through the gardens, with the addition of decorative bridges and tunnels, which added to the picturesque appeal of the pleasure grounds; these were insisted upon by the proprietors of Sydney Gardens as part of their agreement with the canal company, which was entered into in 1795. The canal company paid £2,100 and the cost of providing the bridges and tunnels as compensation for the intrusion into the gardens. During the early C19, additional features and structures were introduced, adding variety and surprise in accordance with landscape design principles of the period. From c.1839, a section of the Great Western Railway was constructed, cutting through the gardens. Later in the C19, further ornamental structures were introduced, but these were largely cleared away after World War Two. In 1891, when the original 99-year lease of the Gardens expired, the entire site, including the Tavern, by then in use as a college, was sold, with the intention of replacing the former Tavern with a large hotel, and remodelling the grounds. The plan was abandoned and in 1908, the site was purchased by Bath City Council; the gardens were opened to the public as a municipal park in 1913, while the Tavern was remodelled by Sir Reginald Blomfield into the Holburne of Menstrie Museum. The gardens remain in use as a public park. This bridge, which continues the main axis through the park over the Kennet and Avon canal, was constructed in 1800 and remains largely unaltered since then.

The bridge in Sydney Gardens is designated at Grade II*, for the following principal reasons:
* The bridge is a good example of an iron bridge by the renowned Coalbrookdale Foundry at Ironbridge, and was the earliest use of a pioneering method of creating skewed crossings
* It is an unusually elegant example of a canal bridge, designed specifically to be decorative as well as functional at the behest of the owners of Sydney Gardens
* It forms part of an important group of four bridges and tunnels on the canal as it passes through Sydney Gardens, all of which are designated at Grade II*, and has group value with these and the other listed structures in the Gardens

Listing NGR: ST7587065366

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