Offord, Cambridgeshire, over the GNR

 

Location N 52°17’21.06”

                 W 0°12’56.27”

 

Span   not known   

Width  not known

Built 1887

Manufactured by John Harper (1833-1906)

Manufactured by Harpers Limited, Albion Works, Aberdeen.                                  

 

Evidence that this was a Harper bridge: Definite

Offord%20jpg_edited.jpg

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collection

Sixty miles north of London, the GNR passed through Offord. Although we have confirmed that this photograph is indeed of Offord station, we have no further information about the fate of the bridge (c. 1887) (UK OSGR TL217671). The line in the picture was quadrupled in 1887 and the increased span required by four tracks no doubt accounted for the tower arrangement.

 

The picture shows the completed bridge, but its poor definition only faintly captures the cables and so the deck and the persons crossing it appear to be doing so in defiance of gravity. It is uncertain whether the towers were built of steel or wood, but it is more likely they were of the latter. Cable tensioners are seen mounted at the tops on both sides of the towers to take the main cable and the anchor cables. The tensioners for the deck cables are mounted beside the stairs as they reach the tower. There are no finials. These features are reminiscent of bridges constructed before 1887, but this bridge was clearly built to span the new layout of four railway lines at Offord, a work that was evidently still in progress as a photograph of the GNR line nearby at Sandy, south of Offord, in 1887 shows only a double track at that point.

 

This bridge must have been built in early 1887 just before Louis Harper joined the firm because there is no mention of it in his curriculum vitae.

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