Monday, 18 April 2011

Holborn Viaduct

...viewed from the top.

Holborn Viaduct is both a bridge and the name of the street which crosses it . It links Holborn, via Holborn Circus, with Newgate Street in the City of London, passing over Farringdon Street and the now subterranean River Fleet.

It was built between 1863 and 1869 spanning the steep-sided Holborn Hill and over the River Fleet valley. City Surveyor William Haywood was the architect and it was opened by Queen Victoria at the same time as Blackfriars Bridge.

This is the view overthe bridge looking west away from the City.

The structure consists of a cast-iron girder bridge with three spans, held up on granite piers, and framed originally by four Renaissance-style houses, of which two survive complete and a third has been replicated.

The houses are faced with Portland Stone. Facing the road each building has a single carved stone statue - Henry Fitz Eylwyn, (Aylwin)first Lord Mayor is on the south-west house....

...and Sir Thomas Gresham (1519-79 merchant and financier who worked for Edward VI and founded Gresham college)is on the south east house. Both statues are by Henry Bursill.

The modern reproduction building on the north west corner has a figure of Sir William Walworth

A view along the north side with the new building in the distance and in the foreground is 'Science', holding a contraption with two balls that when rotating indicate the speed of a steam engine, and by her side a globe with Zodiacal signs on a pedestal, with a cable leading to a battery. The second statue in the distance, is Fine Art, unusually but appropriately with drawing sheet and fine pen, to indicate architectural drawing. On the south side of the bridge you will find Commerce and Agriculture.

Just to the west of the bridge is the City Temple. The City Temple is a Free Church that has its roots in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century (according to website It was built in 1874 and then re-built after being bombed in the Second World War.

Next to the City Temple is St Andrew's Church. St Andrew’s is Sir Christopher Wren’s largest parish church, built after the Great Fire (although the fire didn’t destroy the church – it was simply in a very bad state of repair). The old stone tower of the medieval church was retained and clad in Portland stone. The interior of the church was altered during the Victorian era but on16th April 1941 the church was bombed and gutted. All that remained of the original building was the exterior walls and tower. The building was restored to Wren’s original designs in 1961.

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