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Thame Lane Bridge (DCL5657)

A Grade II Listed Building in Culham, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.6608 / 51°39'38"N

Longitude: -1.2377 / 1°14'15"W

OS Eastings: 452824

OS Northings: 196055

OS Grid: SU528960

Mapcode National: GBR 903.ZWD

Mapcode Global: VHCY7.HJJ5

Entry Name: Thame Lane Bridge (DCL5657)

Listing Date: 17 July 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1409238

Location: Culham, South Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, OX14

County: Oxfordshire

District: South Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Culham

Built-Up Area: Culham Science Centre

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Culham

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

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A flying segmental arch road bridge, spanning a shallow cutting.


MATERIALS: largely original handmade red brick, laid in English bond, but with some later patching. Parapet coping is limestone.

DESCRIPTION: the arch has a span of approximately 48ft [15m] and springs from concrete or concrete faced brick footings raked flush with the embankment sides. Bridge elevations gently curve out towards terminating piers. Stepped string course and parapets.

This is one of only a handful of flying arches designed under Brunel on early GWR lines.


The railway line from Didcot to Oxford was built in 1843-4. It was planned as part of a larger project give the Great Western Railway access to the West Midlands, in rivalry to the London & Birmingham Railway. In the event, although it reached Oxford in 1844, the line did not reach Birmingham until 1852. The 13 mile route from Didcot was built to the broad (7ft 0¼) gauge and had stations at Appleford and Abingdon Road (later Culham). The engineer was Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-59): it is not known who the Resident Engineer was.

Thame Lane bridge was built c. 1843-4 as part of the construction of the line. There have been no major works or alterations since then. A 1983 proposal to reconstruct the bridge with a concrete arch was not carried out.

Thame Lane Bridge is an unusual form, being one of a small number of flying segmental arch road bridges designed under Brunel on early GWR lines. Although common nationally, single arch bridges are less common than the larger triple arch bridges on GWR lines. This is one of a small number that survive on the Didcot-Oxford line and of these Appleford Bridge and Culham Bridge are the standard, semi-elliptical form usually favoured by Brunel.

Reasons for Listing

Thame Lane Bridge is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Selectivity: rare, flying segmental arch road bridge designed by Brunel;
* Date: 1843-4, for the Didcot-Oxford line, laid out by Brunel shortly after the main line;
* Design, engineering and material interest: well-preserved, elegant, Brunel period bridge of unusual design, built of handmade brick;
* Historic interest: early subsidiary line, built under Brunel, giving GWR access to the Midlands;
* Group value: contributes to a cluster of well-preserved Brunel structures on the Didcot -Oxford line that includes Culham Station (Grade II*) and Appleford Bridge (Grade II).

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