Galton Bridge

The Galton Bridge is a cast-iron bridge in Smethwick, near Birmingham, in central England. Opened in 1829 as a road bridge, the structure has been pedestrianised since the 1970s. It was built by Thomas Telford to carry a road across the new main line of the Birmingham Canal, which was built in a deep cutting. The bridge is 70 ft (21 m) above the canal, making it reputedly the highest single-span arch bridge in the world when it was built, 26 ft (7.9 m) wide, and 150 ft (46 m) long. The iron components were fabricated at the nearby Horseley Ironworks and assembled atop the masonry abutments. The design includes decorative lamp-posts and X-shaped bracing in the spandrels.

Galton Bridge
The Galton Bridge (foreground) from the west
Coordinates52.5019°N 1.9794°W / 52.5019; -1.9794
CarriesRoebuck Lane
CrossesBirmingham Canal New Main Line
LocaleSmethwick, England
Maintained byCanal and River Trust
Heritage statusGrade I listed building
Characteristics
MaterialCast iron
Total length150 ft (46 m)
Width26 ft (7.9 m)
Height70 ft (21 m)
No. of spans1
History
Constructed byThomas Telford
Opened1829
Location

In the 1840s, a railway bridge was built from one of the abutments, with a parapet in keeping with the original. The Galton Bridge carried traffic for over 140 years until it was bypassed by a new road, named Telford Way, in the 1970s, and now carries only pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge is one of six built by Telford that share common design features and the only one still standing without modification. It underwent minor repair work in the 1980s, after which it was repainted from its original black into a colour scheme intended to enhance its features. It is maintained by the Canal and River Trust and lends its name to the nearby Smethwick Galton Bridge railway station. It is a grade I listed building.


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