A road bridge over another road, of 1866-8, incorporating two commercial premises.
Reason for Listing
The St Petersgate bridge over Little Underbank, including both Nos. 14 & 15, Little Underbank, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Infrastructure: built in a technically challenging urban location and a significant addition to the transport infrastructure of mid-C19 Stockport, particularly as the bridge improved accessibility to the Market Place and the new Market Hall (q.v.), built in 1860
* Design: a well thought-out design, whose impact upon its constricted setting is addressed through the provision of shops within the bridge's arches, the use of a visually lighter cast-iron deck over the street, incorporating attractive ornamentation, and the provision of pedestrian steps to either side linking the upper and lower streets.
In 1860, Stockport Council authorised the construction of a glazed and cast-iron covered market in Market Place. Little Underbank lies in the natural ravine of Tin Brook, to the south side of the Market Place, which caused problems of access to the market. In 1864, it was decided to build a bridge over Little Underbank, linking the Market Place with St Petersgate, to provide an easier approach from the west of the town and Edgeley Railway Station. St Petersgate Bridge was constructed in 1866-8. The designer was R Rawlinson, and the engineer was Brierley of Blackburn. The cost was around £6,000. A contemporary description of the bridge notes 'six arches, the central one over the Underbank-street being of cast-iron, with perforated parapets and a sufficiency of ornament to prevent its being (as many bridges over public streets are) an eyesore and offensive to good taste'. The Stockport coat of arms on the bridge cartouche was adopted in 1836, and was said to be the arms of the Stopford or Stockport family, Barons of Stockport (later superseded by a coat of arms granted by the College of Arms in two stages in 1932 & 1959). Turner's Vaults in the arch on the south side of Little Underbank (No. 14 Little Underbank) had had premises on this site from the late C18, which were rebuilt into the bridge when it was built in 1866-8. The firm dealt in wine and spirits and ran a public house, now separate premises, No. 12 Little Underbank, The Queen's Head (q.v.)
Road bridge, two commercial premises, two flights of pedestrian steps. 1866-8. Designer, R Rawlinson, engineer, Brierley of Blackburn. Brick, stone piers, parapets, dressings, and steps, cast-iron deck and balustrades.
PLAN: bridge runs north-south, carrying St Petersgate over Little Underbank, which runs east-west. Five brick arches and deck of cast-iron beams over the street. One brick arch to north, incorporating premises of No. 15 Little Underbank, cast-iron deck, four brick arches to south; two incorporating premises of No. 14 (Turners Vaults) Little Underbank, with Royal Oak Yard to the rear. Flight of steps rising against north-east side of bridge to St Petersgate, with dog-leg at north end. Flight of steps rising against south-west of bridge to St Petersgate.
EXTERIOR: on St Petersgate, the brick bridge has a stone parapet with curved coping and square stone piers with dentil cornices, segmental pediments and domed caps with original iron stands supporting modern lamps. The deck over the street has cast-iron balustrades. At the centre of each balustrade is an iron cartouche; on the outer side is the town coat of arms with lion and Britannia supporters, on the inner side is the town coat of arms with the date 1868. The outer iron beams of the deck have ornamental mouldings and brackets visible from Little Underbank.
On Little Underbank the brick supports to either side of the road have rock-faced stone quoining to the corners and pilasters flanking the bridge deck. Each support contains a commercial premises with a two-storey elevation of three bays, a stone plinth, and central segmental-arched doorway with stone imposts. The doorways have double, panelled doors, with single-pane overlights. Flanking each doorway is a round-headed window with moulded stone sill, and giant, rock-faced keystone. No. 15 has one-over-one pane wooden windows; those to No. 14 are presently boarded. At first-floor level are three blind round-headed windows with giant, rock-faced keystones, and stone sill band. The brick arches to the rear have brick infill with round-headed windows with projecting stone sills. The interiors were not inspected.
Flight of stone steps on the north-east side rise parallel to the bridge to a landing, before turning through 90 degrees and rising to a half-landing before returning in a dog-leg up to St Petersgate. Brick retaining wall with stone coping to outer side of steps, terminating against building on the north side of the steps. Steeply sloping brick wall with stone coping separates the two flights of the dog-leg. Three cast-iron signs with pointing hands and relief lettering; TO ST PETERSGATE at bottom and half-way up steps, and TO UNDERBANK at top. South-west flight of stone steps have tarmac coating, and rise parallel to the bridge in four flights separated by landings of differing lengths, with a brick retaining wall with stone coping. At the bottom is a similar cast-iron sign, TO ST PETERSGATE, and at the top is a square stone pier terminating the retaining wall. On its side is carved DOWN TO THE UNDERBANKS. Both flights of steps retain cast-iron mountings set in stone blocks for original hand rails. Present cast-iron hand rails are replacements. The wall lamps are modern reproductions.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.