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Railway Bridge DCL 68 Banbury Lane, King's Sutton, Northants.

A Grade II Listed Building in Kings Sutton, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.0305 / 52°1'49"N

Longitude: -1.2888 / 1°17'19"W

OS Eastings: 448890

OS Northings: 237132

OS Grid: SP488371

Mapcode National: GBR 7T8.QZ2

Mapcode Global: VHCWG.M719

Plus Code: 9C4W2PJ6+5F

Entry Name: Railway Bridge DCL 68 Banbury Lane, King's Sutton, Northants.

Listing Date: 2 February 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1419876

Location: Kings Sutton, South Northamptonshire, Northamptonshire, OX17

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Kings Sutton

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: King's Sutton St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

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A railway overbridge of 1848-50 built to the designs of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.


The Banbury Lane bridge, thought to date to 1848-50, is a road over-bridge spanning the railway line to the north of Kings Sutton, and is aligned north-west to south-east. The bridge and its embanked approaches together form a shallow S-shaped structure.

Cast-iron girders supplemented by C20 steel girders and concrete infill. Red brick with ashlar stone dressings, with brick parapet walling and cast-iron balustrading with C20 corrugated metal cladding to the central span.

The bridge comprises two semi-elliptical, skew-arched approach sections and a central flat deck, spanning the line on the skew, supported by cast-iron girders. These are of an inverted-T section, with a rectangular bulb-shaped upper flange, a design which is thought to mark an important final stage in the development of what Brunel considered to be the ideal section for cast-iron beams. They originally supported a wooden deck, but are now encased in concrete and supplemented by C20 steel girders, three of which are located between each pair of cast-iron girders. Cast-iron face beams support bolted sections of cast-iron arcaded parapet, now clad on their inner faces with C20 corrugated sheeting which extends above the original parapet rail. Deep, triple-arched brick piers support each end of the bridge deck, and deep splayed abutments enclose the approach embankments. There are double string courses at the base of the parapet walls, which are capped with deep ashlar copings. The parapet walls have plain terminal piers with ashlar caps. The brick parapet walling and parts of the main piers have been repaired in modern red facing bricks.


The Banbury Lane railway bridge (bridge DCL 68) at Kings Sutton, Northamptonshire was constructed 1848-50 to the designs of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, engineer for the Oxford and Rugby Railway, developed by the Great Western Railway following an enabling Act of Parliament of 1845. The section of the proposed route between Oxford and Banbury opened in 1850, and the bridge is believed to have been designed in 1848.
The bridge deck is supported on cast-iron beams, and is believed to be the earlier of the only two surviving examples of a series of cast-iron girder bridges designed by Brunel for the railways with which he was associated. The Banbury Lane bridge closely resembles now lost bridges at nearby Aynho, for which Brunel's drawings have survived, and his bridge designs for the line are considered to represent the final development stage of his ideas on the design and performance of cast-iron beams prior to his acceptance, along with other notable engineers, of the superior reliability of wrought iron girders.
The bridge was strengthened in the C20 by the insertion of steel girders and concrete between the original cast-iron beams, and remains in use, carrying Banbury Lane, near Kings Sutton, over the railway line.

Reasons for Listing

* Date: the bridge is an example of a railway structure dating to the beginning of the 'heroic age' of development of the railway network in England, which saw the establishment of many of the principal inter-city railway routes;

* Historic interest: the bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of the most inventive, influential and acclaimed engineers of the C19;

* Engineering interest: the bridge incorporates cast-iron girders, which illustrate Brunel's experimentation with cast-iron beam design, and which represent his view of the ideal section for cast-iron beams;

* Completeness: although the bridge has been repaired and strengthened, all of the original cast-iron components have been retained, together with the approach embankments, brick piers, skew arches and parapets;

* Rarity: the bridge is one of a very small number of surviving cast- or wrought-iron road or railway bridges designed by Brunel which survive in such a complete condition, and is the only survivor of the series of cast-iron-decked bridges designed by Brunel for the mid-C19 Oxford and Rugby Railway.

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