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HER Number:MDV120793
Name:East Cliff Overbridge, Teignmouth

Summary

Skew bridge built between 1882 and 1884 to carry Eastcliff Walk over the South Devon Railway. It replaced a tunnel that was cut through when the railway was first laid in 1846.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 945 732
Map Sheet:SX97SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTeignmouth
DistrictTeignbridge

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • OVERBRIDGE (Built, XIX - 1882 AD to 1884 AD (Between))

Full description

Garnsworthy, P., 2013, Brunel's Atmostpheric Railway, 52-53 (Monograph). SDV360708.

William Dawson's 1840s watercolour shows Teignmouth Tunnel prior to its demolition in 1884. It was replaced by Eastcliff Bridge, constructed of wrought iron lattice girders.


Historic England, 2018, East Cliff Overbridge, Eastcliff Walk, Teignmouth, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361190.

Notification that following a recommendation from Historic England, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has decided not to list the bridge but is minded to issue a Certificate of Immunity from Listing (COI).
The South Devon Railway was first laid out in 1846 and designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel during the pioneering phase of railway development in Britain. East Cliff was one of a series of tunnels along this line. Some of the original stone tunnel portals are shown in William Dawson’s 1840s illustrations of Brunel's Atmospheric Railway. In the late C19 the first phase of widening on this section of line occurred when a second track was added between East Cliff and Parsons Tunnel. East Cliff tunnel was demolished and the East Cliff Overbridge was built in the 1880s above the railway to carry the cliff-top road over the line.
East Cliff Overbridge is an impressive skew bridge, rising high over the railway line, and is carried on two large piers faced in local sandstone and limestone. Skew bridges have been used on the national railway network and elsewhere since at least the 1840s and several examples are listed. The overbridge at East Cliff is, therefore, relatively late in date. Listed examples of late-C19 skew bridges in Devon demonstrate a higher level of design interest, including the Tavy Bridge, and Tamerton Bridge (both begun in 1889 and listed at Grade II) which take a railway line across the wide expanses of the Tavey and Tamar Rivers respectively. In comparison, East Cliff Overbridge does not display sufficient levels of architectural design or engineering interest to merit listing.
The bridge has strong local historic interest as a feature associated with this early railway line which was established by Brunel, and in reflecting the continuing improvements made on this prominent coastal railway route. However, in light of its relatively late date and limited design interest, it does not demonstrate sufficient special architectural or historic interest to merit listing.
CONCLUSION
After examining all the records and other relevant information and having carefully considered the architectural and historic interest of this case, the criteria for listing are not fulfilled. A Certificate of Immunity from Listing is recommended for East Cliff Overbridge at Teignmouth.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION
It is recommended that a Certificate of Immunity from Listing should be issued for East Cliff Overbridge at Teignmouth for the following principal reasons:
Architectural interest:
* this late-C19 bridge is of modest design interest in the context of the national rail network;
* it does not demonstrate sufficient technological interest or innovation in terms of its engineering.
Historic interest:
* it is located on the former South Devon Railway which was first established in 1846 and designed by Brunel. However, this association is not sufficiently strong to outweigh its late date, and lack of architectural and technological interest.
See report for full details.


Historic England, 2018, East Cliff Overbridge, Eastcliff Walk, Teignmouth, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361205.

Confirmation that the bridge has been issued with a Certificate of Immunity from listing for five years.


Historic England, 2018, Eastcliff Overbridge, Eastcliff Walk, Teignmouth, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV360707.

Notification that Historic England is currently considering whether a Certificate of Immunity should be granted for the bridge and has completed an assessment setting out the factual information upon which they will base their decision.
History
The Plymouth, Devonport and Exeter Railway Company was formed in 1840 to establish a railway line between Exeter and Plymouth. In 1843 the name was changed to the South Devon Railway and Isambard Kingdom Brunel was appointed as engineer. In 1844 the South Devon Railway Act was passed, authorising the construction of a single-track, broad-gauge line. The proposed route included a stretch along the coastline between Dawlish and Teignmouth, between the sea and sandstone cliffs, which required a series of tunnels to be cut through the protruding headland. The line had to negotiate several steep climbs and changes in gradient and Brunel’s plan to deal with this landscape was to adopt an experimental system of atmospheric propulsion. Known as the Atmospheric Railway, it was developed by Samuel Clegg and Jacob and Joseph Samuda on the Dalkey Railway in Ireland in 1844. It used a combination of partial vacuum and atmospheric pressure. Instead of a traditional locomotive engine, stationary engines were placed in pumping stations along the line, extracting air from vacuum pipes laid in the middle of the track. Brunel first used the system in 1844 on a five-mile stretch of the London to Croydon Railway. Despite criticism of the system from various contemporary engineers he also recommended it for the South Devon Railway. The first section of the line opened in May 1846; however, the atmospheric vacuum pipes had not been completed, and initially, a steam locomotive was used. The first atmospheric train ran in 1847; although only between Exeter and Teignmouth. Ultimately the railway suffered from defects, including the deterioration of the leather seals on the vacuum pipes. In 1848 the atmospheric system was abandoned and the line was converted to conventional steam locomotion.
In 1876 South Devon amalgamated with the Great Western Railway, and in 1884 the section of track between Teignmouth Old Quay and Smugglers Lane was doubled. In 1892 the line was converted from broad to standard gauge. Between 1902 and 1905 the section between Smugglers Lane and Dawlish Railway Station was also made into a double line.
Eastcliff Overbridge was built to carry Eastcliff Walk over the eastern end of the Teignmouth Cutting. When the railway was first laid in 1846 a tunnel was cut at this location. In advance of the planned widening of this part of the line in the late C19 the tunnel was demolished and replaced with the overbridge which was erected between 1882 and 1884.
Details
A railway overbridge, built between 1882 and 1884 for the Great Western Railway.
MATERIALS: constructed of steel girders supported by brick piers faced in stone.
DESCRIPTION: the triple-span bridge is skewed at a 30 degree angle across the cutting at Eastcliff Walk in Teignmouth. It is constructed of riveted-steel girders and lattice-girder parapets. The central part of the bridge is supported by two tall, stone-faced piers that stand on either side of the railway track. There are stone abutment walls at either end of the bridge.


Historic England, 2018, Mainline Railway on SW Coastline between Teignmouth Cutting and Parsons Tunnel Portal, Teignmouth (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV360684.

Notification of application for a Certificate of Immunity from Listing for structures and features on the railway line between Teignmouth Cutting and Parsons Tunnel including East Cliff Overbridge.


Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

Bridge shown.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #80036 ]
SDV360684List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Mainline Railway on SW Coastline between Teignmouth Cutting and Parsons Tunnel Portal, Teignmouth. Notification of Application for a Certificate of Immunity. Digital.
SDV360707List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Eastcliff Overbridge, Eastcliff Walk, Teignmouth, Devon. Notification of Completion of Assessment. Digital.
SDV360708Monograph: Garnsworthy, P.. 2013. Brunel's Atmostpheric Railway. Brunel's Atmostpheric Railway. Paperback Volume. 52-53.
SDV361190List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. East Cliff Overbridge, Eastcliff Walk, Teignmouth, Devon. Notification of Intention to Grant a Certificate of Immunity. Digital.
SDV361205List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. East Cliff Overbridge, Eastcliff Walk, Teignmouth, Devon. Notification of Certificate of Immunity. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV17775Related to: South Devon Railway, Teignmouth Section (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Aug 5 2019 4:31PM