6 thoughts on “Stockton Forge Company Bridge, Manchester

  1. Another bridge that the Stockton Forge Company had a hand in, which has stood the test of time, is the Killorglin railway viaduct (also known as the Laune viaduct). This bridge forms part of the Farranfore to Valencia Harbour Railway in County Kerry, Ireland.
    The bridge was completed in 1884. The Stockton Forge Company Supplied and erected Iron girders, of the bowstring design, each 95 feet in length. These formed three spans which were mounted onto two limestone piers situated in the River Laune. The railway line was opened the following year by the Great Southern And Western Railway Company.
    The railway closed in 1960 but is maintained as a footbridge.


  2. If the Irewell Bridge in Manchester has not been renovated it must be one of the oldest wrought iron structures still in existence. Within about twenty years all big structures came to be made of mild steel. The Eiffel Tower in Paris was the last in wrought iron. The Forth Rail Bridge was the first very big bridge in steel.

    Quite possibly the wrought iron for the Irewell Bridge had come from the Malleable Iron Works in Portrack. A picture on the website shows the works had about 20-30 furnaces for making wrought iron “blooms”.


  3. In 1876 the Stockton Forge company also made the ironwork for a bridge across the Irwell between Manchester and Salford.
    The bridge was of the bowstring principle resting on stone piers. The largest iron pieces were two girders, one 130 feet and one 127 feet, weighing approximately 130 tons each. The structure was strengthened with Iron lattice work, the inner sides of the frame overlooking the footpath were covered with ornamented iron plates to eight feet in height, to prevent people falling into the river ‘by accident or folly’. A pavement of wrought iron sheets, 42 feet wide, was then laid onto 15 cross beams. the total weight of iron for the bridge was 533 tons.
    I don’t know if this bridge still exists. At the time it linked Irwell Street on one side of the river and Quay Street on the other.


    • I’ve just made an internet search for the Irwell Street Bridge, Salford and it does still exist and is in fact grade II listed.
      What a beautiful bridge! The forge Company even added rosettes to the ends of the cross beams. It looks like the ornate iron side plates have gone but where the bridge meets the stone piers at the edge of the river there appears to be cast coats of arms, which I assume must be original.
      I wonder how many bridges that were manufactured in Stockton are still in existence?


  4. I lived and worked in Manchester for nearly 14 years, during that time I crossed this bridge in Sackville Street countless times. On numerous occasions I would watch the narrow boats negotiate the locks on this stretch of the canal. Being a Stockton lad and not noticing the attached plate is almost unforgivable.


  5. Must have walked a 100 times down Sackville Street from the city centre to UMIST and the University of Manchester, without noticing the bridge. But the parapet on the other side of the road is brick and this section looks like it is a continuous or welded plate. I wonder if it has been rebuilt? Must have a look when I am next up there.

    Seems very odd that, Manchester, surrounded by ironworks and rolling mills, should have a bridge made by a company on the other side of the country.


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