15 September 2014

Lancashire Bridges: 6. Skerton Bridge

Skerton Bridge was built in 1787 to a design by Thomas Harrison. It makes for an interesting comparison with the Lune Aqueduct, completed in 1796.

Harrison's bridge was a replacement for the first bridge over the River Lune at Lancaster, a wooden bridge which dated as far back as the 13th century. This bridge had been rebuilt and repaired on numerous occasions, and in the 18th century was part-demolished to prevent Scottish rebels from crossing the river.

Harrison's new bridge was built for £14,000, and consisted of five elliptical stone arches, later extended with a further span across a railway at its southern end. It was notable for its level highway. Although it predates Rennie's Lune Aqueduct by nearly a decade, it is by far the more elegant of the two bridges.

The bridge is Listed Grade II*, and I particulary enjoy the Listing description:
"5 gracefully shallow semi-elliptical arches with archbands, and above the semicircular cutwaters between them are aediculed niches with mutuled pediments and engaged Tuscan columns. The whole is crossed by a cornice with mutules, and a balustraded parapet in which plain panels alternate with groups of 6 balusters."

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