Thursday, 4 June 2009

Bullbridge Aqueduct

Bullbridge Aqueduct
Cromford Canal
4 June 2009

An aqueduct notable by its absence!

The aqueduct was built in 1794 and was mainly an earth embankment about 30 feet high pierced by three arches, one for the river, a tributary of the Derwent, one as an accommodation arch for the houses in what has become the village of Bull Bridge and one for the main road to Nottingham.
Its official name is, or rather was, the Amber Aqueduct and was a four story jumble of communication links, with the canal at the top, then a railway over a road which ran over the river!

The structure was originally built by William Jessop and itsuffered a partial failure before it was opened. William Jessop took responsibility and personally funded £650 of repairs.

The Aqueduct section was 150 feet long and was orig
inally contained within masonry walls, but when the railway line was added it was sleeved with a 150ft x 9ft x 6ft cassion, which was built and assembled at Butterley, and then floated down the canal and installed one night without interfering with the substantial volume of traffic still passing along the waterway.

The aqueduct was controlled by traffic lights, but trade ceased with the repeated collapses of the Butterley Tunnel in the early 1900's, and after a few decades of disuse it was finally demolished in 1968, making way for the multi track railway line we see today. Rumour has it that the iron trough lingered in a storage yard for a number of years but was finally sold for scrap.
Unusually, the remaining section of the embankment is Grade 2 listed, which must have presented a problem for the two houses built on top of it in recent years.

The absence of this aqueduct is the single most significant obstacle in reconnecting the Cromford Canal to the Erewash, a few miles to the south east.

1 comment:

  1. May I suggest that the first sentence of the penultimate paragraph might read: Trade ceased in 1900 due to the final collapse of Butterley Tunnel and this part of the canal was abandoned in 1944. Later the road under the aqueduct, now the busy A610, was controlled by traffic lights and the narrow size of the bore, just large enough to acommodate a single-deck bus, seriously impeded road traffic and the embankment and aqueduct was finally demolished in 1968 to allow road improvements.
    Really interesting site