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Historic bridge brought back to former glory

CRUMBLING brickwork on a historic railway bridge has been restored to its former glory thanks to a £30,000 programme of works by Lafarge. Failed rendering was removed and repointing carried out on the Grade II-listed 1860 Bridge which spans the river Soar at Mountsorrel, in Leicestershire.

The bridge, built in 1860 as its name suggests, was part of a private rail network used to carry granite for the Mountsorrel Granite Company. With a span of 90ft, the structure is still regarded as one of the finest examples of a brick-built, single-span bridge in the country.

Today it remains in use for rock transport but with the rail track long disused a motorized conveyor now carries 1,200 tonnes/h of granite on the 2-mile journey from Mountsorrel Quarry to a railhead at Barrow upon Soar.

Angus Shedden, manager of Mountsorrel Quarry, said: ‘Around two-thirds of Mountsorrel aggregate is delivered by rail every year and the importance of the conveyor in transferring this product to the railhead is fundamental. The bridge is a local icon and the topic of Lafarge-sponsored works on the structure had been discussed at liaison committee meetings.

‘The layer of render on the bridge was failing and peeling away from the original brickwork because of water damage and weathering. As the bridge spans a section of canal popular with fishermen, boaters and walkers, this crumbling posed a hazard to the public.’

Lafarge arranged for the safe removal of the failed render and the brickwork beneath was inspected. Where this was in poor condition sections were repointed, bringing it back to its original state.

‘The bridge and the conveyor are an essential part of our business and the bridge itself is an important historical landmark so we are delighted our efforts have not only made it safer but restored its splendour for future generations,’ said Mr Shedden.

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