Shropshire History  




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There are hundreds of bridges in Shropshire and amongst these is the most famous of them all – the Iron Bridge.  It is not practicable to list all of the bridges here so instead there follows a list of the bridges crossing the River Severn as it passes through Shropshire.



Grid Reference


Crew Green Bridge




Built 1947 as a railway bridge but converted to a road bridge. Crosses from Wales to England.

Montford Bypass Bridge




Built 1992 and carries the A5 dual carriageway road. Designed by Sir Owen Williams & Partners.

Montford Bridge




Built 1792 by Thomas Telford for the London–Holyhead road, now carries the B4380. It was Telford's first bridge design and built by John Carline and John Tilley. It has three masonry elliptical arch spans, two of 55ft and the central one of 58ft. They are built of red sandstone obtained from Nessliffe Hill 4 miles away. The bridge cost £5,800 to build. Regarding the bridge, Telford wrote The contractors Messrs Carline and Tilley, being experienced workmen, it has proved a substantial edifice, having been completed upwards of forty years, and remaining quite perfect”. It was widened in 1963 by adding a reinforced concrete slab. It is a Grade II listed building.

Frankwell Footbridge




Built 1979 to a design by Mott, Hay & Anderson. The cable-stayed steel box girder bridge is supported from a single concrete tower and has a main span of 157ft. It connects the Frankwell Car Park to the Riverside Shopping Precinct

Welsh Bridge




A bridge has existed on this site since 1155.  In 1262 St George’s Bridge was built, so named as it was close to St. George's Hospital. It connected Frankwell to the town centre via Mardol. The gate on the town side was called Mardol Gate and was located where the Mardol Quay Gardens are. The gate on the other side was called Welsh Gate or St George's Gate. One span was a timber drawbridge and several shops were built near the middle of the bridge. A public convenience was built on it in about 1496. In 1539, John Leland described it as follows “the greatest, fayrest and highest upon the stream is the Welsh Bridge having 6 great Arches of Stone, so called because it is the Way out of the Towne into Walls. This Bridge standeth on the West Side of the Towne, and hath at the one End of it a great Gate to enter by into the Towne, and at the other End towards Wales a might strong Tower to prohibit Enemies to enter into the Bridge.” Above the main tower was a statue of Richard Plantagenet, removed in 1791. The bridge was demolished in 1795 and was replaced with the existing Welsh Bridge. The new bridge, however, was built about 80 yards further downstream, connecting Barker Street with Frankwell. Only one dry arch of the old St George's Bridge now remains, on the Frankwell side.


The new bridge was designed by John Tilley and John Carline, who had built Montford Bridge for Thomas Telford. Four of the masonry arches span 43ft 4 inches, while the central arch is 46ft 2 inches. The bridge is 30ft wide and built from Grinshill sandstone. In total it is 266ft long. The bridge cost £8,000 to build. Thomas Telford, then County Surveyor, disapproved of the site and was justified 25 years later when the scouring effects of the river were found to be undermining the river bed below the foundations. Work on the foundations over the years has enabled the bridge to survive.

It is a Grade II* Listed Building.

Porthill Bridge




Built in 1923 as a 10ft wide suspension bridge for pedestrians to a design by David Rowell & Co using latticed steel. It connects Porthill with The Quarry and the town centre. The bridge experiences significant vibration, even when only a few people are crossing it. £2,000 of the bridge's total £2,600 cost was paid for by the Shropshire Horticultural Society.

Kingsland Bridge




Built in 1882 to a design by John Grover. It was constructed by the Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company, who also built the Victoria Falls Bridge. The bridge spans 212ft and comprises two metal arch ribs, from which the main bridge deck is hung. It cost £11,156 to build. It is a privately owned toll bridge and the cost for cars to cross is 20p. Known locally as the Penny Bridge, the toll for pedestrians used to be 1d.  In the 1970s after metrification, permission was granted from the Department of Transport to raise the toll to the new ½p and then to 1p.  Up until then it was therefore still the Penny Bridge.  However, the Kingsland Bridge Company again was granted an increase in 2011 to 20p. It is a Grade II Listed Building.

Greyfriars Footbridge




Built in 1880, it replaced a ferry boat crossing between St Julian’s Friars and Coleham, relieving some of the congestion on the narrow footpaths of the English Bridge.  It is constructed of two lattice girders of wrought iron on piers of solid masonry and a concrete foundation.

English Bridge




A bridge is known to have stood at this spot since at least Norman times. Historically, it was known as the "Stone Bridge" and the original Norman bridge consisted of five arches and a timber causeway. A large tower stood on the east bank, housing a gate and a drawbridge. The bridge also supported several shops and houses. This was replaced in 1774 with a new bridge designed by John Gwynn. The bridge had 7 semi-circular stone arches, with the 55ft central arch built high to provide headroom to watercraft but this resulted in steep approaches. The bridge was 400ft long and cost £16,000. Thomas Telford's London-Holyhead road used the English Bridge to cross the Severn.


In its turn, this bridge was completely rebuilt in 1927 to a design by the Borough Surveyor Arthur Ward. The new bridge reused the old masonry, each stone being carefully numbered, as well as a quantity of new stonework. Concrete was used to 'saddle' the arches and in the foundations. The opportunity was also taken to widen it to 50ft.  All of the arches were lowered and the central one was converted into a segmental arch, reducing the height of the roadway by 5ft. It cost £86,000 and was formally opened by Queen Mary.  The A5 was re-routed around Shrewsbury and the bridge now carries the A458 road. It is a Grade II* Listed Building.

Shrewsbury Railway Bridge




Built in 1838 to a design by Robert Stephenson and Joseph Locke. It is a double arch iron railway bridge, built by William Baker in 1848, and carries the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton line over the Severn. All of the iron was cast at Coalbrookdale

Castle Walk Footbridge




Built in 1951 as the first pre-stressed concrete bridge in Shropshire. It has a balanced cantilever construction, with two cantilever sections and a central suspended span, being 150ft long. It was designed by L G Mouchel & Partners and built by Taylor Woodrow. The bridge links Castlefields with the Cherry Orchard / Underdale part of town.

Telford Way Bridge




Built in 1964 to a design by the Scott Wilson Group. It is a double cantilever and suspended span type bridge in pre-stressed reinforced concrete.  The bridge is 298ft long with pier foundations sunk to 18ft below the river bank level. It carries the A5112 Ditherington to Monkmoor link road.

Shrewsbury Bypass Bridge (Haughmond)




Built in 1992 of pre-stressed concrete and carries the A49 road.

Shrewsbury Bypass Bridge (Uffington)




Built in 1992 of pre-stressed concrete and carries the A49 road.

Belvedere Railway Bridge




Built in 1848 to a design by William Baker, carrying the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury railway line. It is a Grade II* Listed Building.

Shrewsbury Bypass Bridge (Emstrey)




Built in 1992 of pre-stressed concrete and carries the A5 road.

Atcham New Bridge




Built in 1929 of reinforced concrete to a design by L G Mouchel. It replaced the old bridge which was unable to take the increasing flow of traffic.

Atcham Old Bridge



SJ540093  The Abbot of Lilleshall originally constructed a bridge here in 1200-22, probably of wood. It was replaced in 1776 to a design by John Gwynn, having 5 masonry arches. It is a Grade II* Listed Building.

Cressage Bridge




Built in 1913 of reinforced concrete to a design by L G Mouchel. It carries the B4380 road.

Buildwas Bridge




A bridge was originally built here by Thomas Telford in 1796, who used much less cast iron than in the nearby Iron Bridge. In fact it used less than half the weight for a greater span (130ft span with 170 tons of cast iron). However, it suffered problems of abutment movement and was replaced in 1992 by a pre-stressed concrete bridge. It carries the A4169 road.

Ironbridge "A" Road Bridge




Built in 1932 as a steel truss bridge providing access to Ironbridge Power Station. It is now disused.

Ironbridge "B" Road Bridge




Built in 1963 of pre-stressed concrete to replace the older bridge providing access to Ironbridge Power Station.

Albert Edward Railway Bridge




Built in 1864 to a design by John Fowler. Its 200ft span cast iron arch has four ribs, each of nine parts bolted together. The patterns for the radiused beam castings for the bridge were prepared by Thomas Parker at the Coalbrookdale Iron Company. Originally built to carry the Wenlock, Craven Arms & Lightmoor Extension Railway across the river, it now carries coal traffic as part of the line between Lightmoor Junction and Ironbridge Power Station. The bridge's timber and wrought iron deck was replaced by a structural steel deck in 1933. It may be one of the last large cast iron railway bridges to have been built. Due to its age and the condition of the ironwork, traffic over the bridge is restricted to a 5 mph speed limit to minimise stress. Although it carries two tracks, only the one on the downstream side is still in use. Telford Steam Railway hope to run trains over the bridge using the presently unused track as part of their southern extension to Buildwas. The bridge is a Grade II Listed Building.

Iron Bridge




Built in 1779, this is probably the most famous bridge in the world, being the first arch bridge to be made of cast iron. This was a material which was previously too expensive to use for large structures but a new blast furnace nearby lowered the cost and encouraged local engineers and architects to solve a long-standing problem of a crossing over the river. In the early 18th Century, the only way to cross the Severn Gorge was by ferry so, in 1773, Thomas Pritchard wrote to a local ironmaster John Wilkinson of Broseley to suggest building a bridge out of cast iron. By 1775, Pritchard had finalised the plans but he died in 1777, only a month after work had begun. Abraham Darby III was commissioned to build the bridge, the iron for which was cast at his foundry. In the end, a lot more iron was used than budgeted for and Darby, who bore most of the cost overrun, was in debt for the rest of his life.


Being the first of its sort, the construction had no precedent and was therefore based on carpentry. Each member of the frame was cast separately and fastenings followed those used in woodworking, such as the mortise and tenon and blind dovetail joints, adapted as necessary to the different properties of cast iron. Bolts were used to fasten the half-ribs together at the crown of the arch. Very large parts were needed to create a structure to span 100ft rising to 60ft above the river. The largest parts were the half-ribs, each about 70ft long and weighing 5¼ tons. The bridge needed more than 800 castings of 12 basic types.


A few years after construction of the bridge, cracks appeared in the masonry abutments, partly caused by ground movement. Some of the present-day cracks in the cast iron may date from this time, although others are probably casting cracks from defects such as blow holes. Some cracks were pinned with wrought iron straps but others have been left free. By 1802, the southern stone abutment had to be demolished and replaced with temporary wooden arches before eventually being replaced by iron arches. However, many of the cracks visible in the bridge today have been left untouched.


In 1934 it was designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument and closed to vehicular traffic. Tolls for pedestrians were collected until 1950, when ownership of the bridge was transferred to Shropshire County Council. It now belongs to Telford and Wrekin Council. In 1972, a programme of major repairs took place on the foundations of the bridge. It involved creating a ferro-concrete inverted arch under the river. Inward movement of the bridge abutments had compressed the bridge and caused the centre of the arch to rise by a few feet. The counter-arch resists this compressive force from the abutments.


In 1999–2000 the bridge was renovated again, with replacement of the cast iron road plates with steel plates and a lightweight top surface. These renovations, together with recent research, revealed more about the building process and the manufacture of the cast iron parts. While the smaller parts were cast using wooden patterns, the large ribs were cast into excavated moulds in the casting sand. It is now known that 70% of the components were made individually to fit and, as a result, each is slightly different from the others.


The bridge and surrounding area form the UNESCO Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site. The bridge is a Grade I listed building.

Jackfield Bridge




The Jackfield Free Bridge was opened in 1909 by public subscription and it was the first toll-free crossing of the Ironbridge Gorge. It was the first bridge in England constructed using reinforced concrete and was designed by L G Mouchel. The bridge became unsafe and was demolished in 1993 to make way for a new bridge. This was built in 1994 to a design by Gifford & Partners.  It is a cable-stayed bridge carrying the B4373 road.

Jackfield & Coalport Memorial Footbridge




Built in 1922 as a steel truss footbridge.

Coalport Bridge




Built in 1818 as an iron arch bridge.  Many believe it to be much more impressive than the Iron Bridge because of its lean, streamlined design and the higher quality of the cast iron arches. Thus it still carries vehicular traffic, albeit as a single carriageway. It has about half the weight of cast iron as the original Iron Bridge and is longer. It was renovated in 2004, including replacement of the cast iron pavement by lighter equivalents. The bridge is a Grade II* Listed Building.

Coalport Sewage Works Bridge




Bridge serving the Coalport Sewage Treatment Works, owned by Severn Trent Water.

Apley Park Bridge




Built in 1905 to a design by David Rowell & Co.  It is a suspension bridge and acts as a private road bridge for the Apley Park Estate. There is no public access. The weight limit is 1 tonne and only one vehicle is allowed on the bridge at a time.

Bridgnorth Bridge




There has been a bridge here since medieval times and possibly even earlier.  It was rebuilt in 1795 with improvements made Thomas Telford in 1823. The bridge is a Grade II Listed Building.

Bridgnorth Bypass Bridge




Built in 1985 of pre-stressed concrete to carry the A458.

Hampton Loade Water Works Bridge




Built in 1965 to provide access to the Hampton Loade Water Treatment Works. The tubular welded blue arches are water pipes that carry a small roadway suspended below. The bridge is owned by South Staffordshire Water.

Highley-Alveley Footbridge




A reinforced concrete railway bridge was built here in 1937 to take coal from Alveley Colliery to Stourport Power Station.  It was demolished in 2006 when it became unsafe and was replaced by a pre-stressed concrete footbridge providing access between Alveley and Highley.