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Wood Lane Bridge

A Grade II Listed Building in Dewsbury, Kirklees

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Latitude: 53.6986 / 53°41'54"N

Longitude: -1.6298 / 1°37'47"W

OS Eastings: 424537

OS Northings: 422527

OS Grid: SE245225

Mapcode National: GBR KT1N.YW

Mapcode Global: WHC9X.Y92F

Entry Name: Wood Lane Bridge

Listing Date: 9 November 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1449980

Location: Kirklees, WF13

County: Kirklees

Electoral Ward/Division: Batley East

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Dewsbury

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire


Bridge over the Leeds, Dewsbury & Manchester Railway line, mid-1840s, by Thomas Grainger. Rock-faced sandstone with ashlar dressings.


Bridge over the Leeds, Dewsbury & Manchester Railway line, mid-1840s, by Thomas Grainger. Rock-faced sandstone with ashlar dressings.

Wood Lane Bridge is located approximately half a mile to the north-east of Dewsbury Station and carries Wood Lane (now a footpath) over the Leeds, Dewsbury & Manchester Railway line. Due to the lie of the land the bridge slopes downwards from east to west. The bridge is similarly detailed on both sides and is constructed of coursed local rock-faced sandstone with a segmental arched span incorporating rusticated voussoirs that spring from ashlar quoined jambs and an ashlar impost band. Above the arch is a projecting ashlar stringcourse in the form of a carriageway band and a parapet of larger coursed rock-faced sandstone blocks with large rounded ashlar coping stones; the coping stone at the far eastern end of the north parapet has been replaced by a roughcast concrete block.

The attached approach walls, including a substantial red-brick and sandstone wall added in 1880 on the west side to divert Wood Lane as part of the construction of a neighbouring railway line (now removed) are not of special interest and are excluded from the listing.


In contrast to the main trunk lines of the late 1830s that were constructed by single railway companies the route from Stalybridge to Leeds had fragmented origins and was the work of three different railway companies: the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway, Leeds, Dewsbury & Manchester Railway, and the Manchester & Leeds Railway.

The Huddersfield & Manchester Railway was authorised in 1845 and followed the route of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal for much of its length, including a railway tunnel through the Pennine hills set alongside the earlier Standedge Canal Company tunnel of 1811; in 1846 the railway company also acquired the canal. Joseph Locke and Alfred Stanistreet Jee were appointed to survey and design the new line, the two engineers having already worked together on a major project linking Manchester and Sheffield. Jee became the lead engineer for the Huddersfield line, which passed through challenging terrain, assisted by resident engineers that included his brother Moreland Jee (until 1848) and Herbert F Mackworth. Construction of the line was divided into various contracts, with many contractors being only responsible for a single cutting, viaduct or tunnel portal. The largest contract for the Standedge Tunnel between Diggle and Marsden was let to a single contractor, Thomas Nicholson in 1847. The tunnel's completion in 1849 marked the opening of the line.

The Leeds end of the route, which was also authorised in 1845, was constructed by the Leeds, Dewsbury & Manchester Railway. The engineer was Thomas Grainger who had previously largely worked in Scotland, and the line was completed in 1849.

A short three-mile section of the route between Heaton Lodge Junction and Thornhill Junction near Mirfield was developed by the Manchester & Leeds Railway and was constructed between 1837 and 1840, with George Stephenson as the chief engineer. The structures on this line were designed by Thomas Gooch under the oversight of Stephenson. In 1847 the railway company changed its name to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway.

In 1847 the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway and the Leeds, Dewsbury & Manchester Railway were acquired by the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) so that the company could access the city of Leeds and the textile towns of West Yorkshire. This pitted them as rivals to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, although at points on the route the two companies had to work together. By 1851 the London & North Western Railway had an overall mileage of railway track of 800 miles and it became the most prominent railway company in the country and the largest joint-stock concern in the world in the late C19. Although the LNWR had a general manager, Captain Mark Huish, the lines of the Stalybridge to Leeds route still managed their own affairs. LNWR later carried out expansion works, including the widening of tracks and bridges, the construction of additional tunnels, and station alterations. In 1923 the line became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway, and subsequently part of the nationalised British Railways in 1948. The line, its structures and track are currently owned by Network Rail, and the passenger services operated by TransPennine Express and Northern Rail.

Wood Lane Bridge was designed by Thomas Grainger and dates to the construction of the Leeds, Dewsbury & Manchester Railway between 1845 and 1847. The bridge was constructed to carry Wood Lane (now a footpath) over the railway line to connect with Crackenedge Lane.

Reasons for Listing

Wood Lane Bridge (MDL1/23), constructed in the mid-1840s by Thomas Grainger for the Leeds, Dewsbury & Manchester Railway, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic interest:

* Constructed during the heroic age of railway building and a little altered example of an 1840s overbridge on what is now one of the main railway lines in northern England;

* Designed by the notable Scottish railway engineer Thomas Grainger.

Architectural interest:

* The bridge is well detailed with ashlar dressings, including rusticated voussoirs and impost bands that lift its design above the purely functional.

Group value:

* With the other listed structures designed by Grainger on the Leeds, Dewsbury & Manchester Railway line.

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