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Railway overbridge MVL3/20, Wright's Mill

A Grade II Listed Building in Mossley, Tameside

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Latitude: 53.5295 / 53°31'46"N

Longitude: -2.0338 / 2°2'1"W

OS Eastings: 397859

OS Northings: 403652

OS Grid: SD978036

Mapcode National: GBR GW7M.HH

Mapcode Global: WHB9C.QKR1

Entry Name: Railway overbridge MVL3/20, Wright's Mill

Listing Date: 23 March 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1452406

Location: Mossley, Tameside, OL5

County: Tameside

Civil Parish: Mossley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester


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


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

MATERIALS: buff sandstone.

DESCRIPTION: the bridge carries the footpath from east-west across the railway. Due to gradients it slopes down towards the east. The bridge comprises a single segmental-arched span recessed between battered abutments to either side of the steep cutting, with a parapet.

The stonework is regular-coursed and quarry-faced. The stone of the arch piers and the voussoirs has tooled margins, the keystone breaking the arch above and below. The impost bands, sloping string course above the arch and the chamfered-and-weathered parapet copings are dressed. The abutments curve outwards slightly at all four corners and terminate in slender piers with shallow, pyramidal caps. The arch soffit is narrow-coursed masonry with tooled detailing. The road surface was much overgrown at the date of survey (2017).


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

This overbridge was built to carry the footpath from Midge Hill Farm to Wright’s Mill over the railway. It was designed by AS Jee (1816-1858) and dates from the line’s construction between 1845 and 1849. It remains as built.

Reasons for Listing

Wright’s Mill Bridge (MVL3/20), 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 overbridge 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 bridge is well-detailed with ashlar impost bands and string course, and piers and voussoirs with tooled margins, 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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