Bridges

Our own Victoria Bridge is in good company. Its designer John Fowler became engineer to the Severn Valley Railway v1 in 1855.

He was a civil engineer specialising in the construction of railways, and in 1853 became chief engineer for the world’s first underground Metropolitan Railway, built with the cut and cover method under the streets (which earned him some £152k, now worth £13.9M), and the District Railway and Hammersmith and City Railway – now the majority of the Circle Line.

During his training he worked on the Aire and Calder Navigation, and the London and Brighton Railway with John Rastrick. With George Leather he was resident engineer on the Stockton and Hartlepool Railway, and appointed its engineer when it opened in 1841.

His client list included the Great Northern, the Highland, the Cheshire Lines, the East Lincs, and the OW&W. After I K Brunel’s death in 1859 he was retained by the Great Western Railway. His designs include London Victoria Station, Sheffield Victoria, Glasgow St Enoch, Liverpool Central, and Manchester Central where the 64m wide train shed roof was the second widest unsupported iron arch in Britain (after the roof of St Pancras).

His bridge designs include Grosvenor in the 1860s, the first railway bridge over the River Thames, and the 13-arch Dollis Brook Viaduct.

Our own Victoria Bridge was constructed 1859-61, and the near identical Edward Albert Bridge in nearby Coalbrookdale 1863-64.

When the Tay Bridge collapsed in 1879, Fowler and his partners Barlow and Harrison were appointed in 1881 to a commission to review the Bouch’s design for the Forth Bridge.

The recommendation was a steel cantilever, designed by Fowler and Baker, constructed 1883-1890. After its successful completion, Fowler was created a Baronet. Sir John Fowler 1st Baronet

Victoria Bridge on SVRWiki

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