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Railway tunnel portal, MVL3/11 Scout Tunnel (south end)

A Grade II Listed Building in Mossley, Tameside

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Latitude: 53.5078 / 53°30'28"N

Longitude: -2.0423 / 2°2'32"W

OS Eastings: 397291

OS Northings: 401240

OS Grid: SD972012

Mapcode National: GBR GW5W.N8

Mapcode Global: WHB9K.L3P4

Plus Code: 9C5VGX55+43

Entry Name: Railway tunnel portal, MVL3/11 Scout Tunnel (south end)

Listing Date: 23 March 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1452399

Location: Mossley, Tameside, OL5

County: Tameside

Civil Parish: Mossley

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester


Railway tunnel portal, 1845-1849, by AS Jee for the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway.


Railway tunnel portal, 1845-1849, by AS Jee for the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway.
MATERIALS: buff sandstone.

DESCRIPTION: the portal faces south, standing against the south face of the hill, elevated above the road. It comprises a single horseshoe arch flanked by polygonal piers with abutments to either side running into the steep sides of the cutting.

The arch has alternate giant voussoirs within a two-coursed ring, and walls of regular-coursed quarry-faced stone. A giant upper course with tooled margins runs across the whole, with an ashlar parapet above with prominent roll moulding at its base.


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 in 1837 to 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 (2018) owned by Network Rail, and the passenger services operated by TransPennine Express and Northern Rail.

Scout Tunnel was built to carry the railway through a small hill between Stalybridge and Mossley. The south portal was designed by AS Jee (1816-1858) and dates from the line’s construction between 1845 and 1849. The portal remains as built.

Reasons for Listing

Scout Tunnel south portal (MVL3/11), constructed in the mid-late 1840s by AS Jee for the Huddersfield & 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 tunnel portal on what is now one of the main railway lines in northern England;

* designed by the notable railway engineer Alfred Stanistreet Jee.

Architectural interest:

* the portal is well-detailed with a horseshoe arch, polygonal piers, giant voussoirs and upper course, and prominent parapet roll moulding, that lift its design above the purely functional.

Group value:

* with the other listed structures designed by Jee on the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway line.

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