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Bump Mill and River Amber Bridge (Spc 8 62), North East Derbyshire

Description: Bump Mill and River Amber Bridge (Spc 8 62)

Grade: II
Date Listed: 11 February 2014
Building ID: 1417644

OS Grid Reference: SK3861158168
OS Grid Coordinates: 438611, 358168
Latitude/Longitude: 53.1193, -1.4245

Locality: North East Derbyshire
Local Authority: North East Derbyshire District Council
County: Derbyshire
Postcode: DE55 6AH

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Listing Text


A three-span underbridge, crossing Bumpmill Lane and the River Amber, built 1836-40 for the North Midland Railway to the designs of George and Robert Stephenson with Frederick Swanwick.

Reason for Listing

Bump Mill and River Amber Bridge, constructed between 1836 and 1840, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Date: as an early example of a railway structure dating from the pioneering phase in national railway development;
* Historic interest: as a bridge that forms part of the North Midland Railway, which was designed by George and Robert Stephenson, among the greatest and most influential of all railway engineers, with their assistant Frederick Swanwick;
* Architectural interest: as an example of the consistently high quality design and careful detailing of railway structures completed for the North Midland Railway.


The Midland Main Line is the outcome of a number of historic construction phases undertaken by different railway companies. The first two phases were carried out simultaneously between 1836 and 1840 by the North Midland Railway and the Midland Counties Railway. The North Midland Railway, which operated between Derby and Chesterfield and onwards to Rotherham and Leeds, was pre-eminently the work of George (1781-1848) and Robert Stephenson (1803-1859) who, along with Isambard Kingdom Brunel, are the most renowned engineers of this pioneering phase of railway development. They worked closely with the Assistant Engineer, Frederick Swanwick (1810-1885). The railway’s architect Francis Thompson (1808-1895) designed stations and other railway buildings along the line. The less demanding route for the Midland Counties Railway, which ran between Derby and Nottingham to Leicester and on to Rugby, was surveyed by Charles Blacker Vignoles (1793-1875) who was engineer to a large number of railway projects. These two companies (along with the Birmingham & Derby Junction Railway) did not yield the expected profits, partly because of the fierce competition between them. This led to the three companies merging into the Midland Railway in 1844 which constituted the first large scale railway amalgamation. The next part of the line from Leicester to Bedford and on to Hitchin was constructed between 1853 and 1857 by the engineer Charles Liddell (c.1813-1894) and specialist railway architect Charles Henry Driver (1832-1900). In 1862 the decision was made to extend the line from Bedford to London which was again the responsibility of Liddell, except for the final fourteen miles into London and the design of the terminus at St Pancras (listed at Grade I) which was undertaken by William Barlow (1812-1902). Additional routes were then added from Chesterfield to Sheffield in 1870, and from Kettering to Corby in 1879. The most important changes to the infrastructure of the Midland Railway were the rebuilding of its principal stations and the increasing of the line’s capacity, involving the quadrupling of some stretches of the route south of the Trent from the early 1870s to the 1890s.

Bump Mill and River Amber Bridge was built between 1836 and 1840 as part of the North Midland Railway. The route from Derby to Chesterfield and onwards to Rotherham and Leeds was surveyed by George Stephenson in 1835, and the Act of Parliament for the construction of the 72 mile line was obtained in 1836. Linked at Derby to the Birmingham & Derby Junction Railway and the Midland Counties Railway, it was to form part of a route from London to Yorkshire and the North East. George Stephenson was joined by his son Robert as joint Chief Engineer on the project in 1837. In order to concentrate on his mineral and mining interests, George relinquished his railway projects in 1839 so it was his son who saw the North Midland through to its completion in 1840. Part of Robert Stephenson’s skill in handling railway projects was his ability to select and manage an able team, and he entrusted much of the engineering design of the North Midland to Frederick Swanwick whose name appears on the surviving contract drawings. The Stephensons, supported by Swanwick, designed the line north from Derby to have gradients no greater than 1 in 250 to suit the low power of contemporary steam locomotives, which meant relegating Sheffield to a link line. To achieve such gradients the line followed the River Derwent as far as Ambergate and then ran through more difficult territory up the valley of the River Amber via Wingfield and Clay Cross to Chesterfield, then over to Rotherham and via Wakefield to Leeds. The notable sequence of picturesque stations along the line was designed by Francis Thompson who was therefore also influential in setting his stamp on the character of the line.

Bump Mill and River Amber Bridge is one in an extended sequence of similar bridges designed by George and Robert Stephenson, with their Assistant Engineer Frederick Swanwick, for the North Midland Railway between Derby and Chesterfield. It has been altered at a later date; the spandrels of the arches have been patched with engineering brick and the soffits have been lined with concrete.


A three-span underbridge, crossing Bumpmill Lane and the River Amber, built 1836-40 for the North Midland Railway to the designs of George and Robert Stephenson with Frederick Swanwick.

MATERIALS: coursed and squared, quarry-faced Derbyshire Gritstone, with ashlar dressings. The spandrels of the arches are of red brick, patched with engineering brick. The soffits of the arches are lined with concrete.

DESCRIPTION: a bridge of three segmental spans constructed of Derbyshire Gritstone and red brick. From high mileage (north) to low mileage (south): one span over the roadway, one span over land and one span over the River Amber. The arches and spandrels are of brick except for Gritstone keystones. The brickwork on the down (west) side is hand-made red brick laid in English bond whilst that on the up (east) side is the same except where it is patched with engineering brick in English garden bond. Each arch has a pair of circular metal tie plates. The faces are crowned by three stepped courses of tooled ashlar, consisting of a string course and a low parapet of one deep course and one narrow course with a chamfered top edge. The string course extends at either end to form the coping of the raked wings walls, which run perpendicular to the abutments and terminate in low semi-octagonal piers. These wing walls are of coursed and squared quarry-faced Gritstone. The soffits of the arches have been lined in concrete. The arches spring from tooled ashlar impost bands. Beneath these the piers and abutments are of coursed and squared quarry-faced Gritstone. The piers are rounded on the down (west) side and form keel-shaped cutwaters on the up (east) side, each capped by a prominent ashlar block of matching profile.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.