I’m standing under the Albert Edward Bridge to take this photo. It was built in 1863 and opened the following year, named for Queen Victoria’s eldest long before he became the totally notorious King Edward VII.
You might also say the Albert Edward Bridge is the ugly great great grandchild of Darby’s Iron Bridge just downstream; and the end of the line too – in all senses. It is the last large cast iron railway bridge to be built in the UK, and originally carried the Severn Junction Railway across the river to meet up with the Severn Valley Railway (one of England’s loveliest lines decimated by Mr. Beeching in the 1960s). In more recent times it was used to carry coal to the power station.
It may not be as striking as its ground-breaking elder (and it certainly proved very hard to photograph) but it has much in common with Darby’s bridge. Designed by Sir John Fowler, the single 200 foot span comprises 4 cast iron ribs, each of 9 parts bolted together. The moulds for the spans were prepared nearby at the Darby family’s Coalbrookdale Company ironworks. The steel deck that you can see in the photo was installed in 1933, replacing the original timber and wrought iron deck.
Now that the power station has run out of steam, one wonders what will become of Albert Edward. Fortunately it is a Grade II listed building so it will be preserved. At least one hopes it will. Also the local Telford Steam Railway enthusiasts have their sights set on it to extend their rather limited rail track, and since there is presently a 5mph speed limit on the bridge due to its age, one can conjure a slow and splendid steam-train trundle across the Gorge to Buildwas – poop-poop!
Roof Squares 12 Not quite a roof, I know, but I was standing under it for the header shot. Please pop over to Becky’s for a plethora of rooftops.