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Crumlin Viaduct W Abutment Ebbw Valley

A Grade II Listed Building in Crumlin, Caerphilly

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6798 / 51°40'47"N

Longitude: -3.1421 / 3°8'31"W

OS Eastings: 321134

OS Northings: 198510

OS Grid: ST211985

Mapcode National: GBR HZ.5BD0

Mapcode Global: VH6DG.H18L

Entry Name: Crumlin Viaduct W Abutment Ebbw Valley

Listing Date: 19 April 1963

Last Amended: 29 January 1999

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 21254

Building Class: Transport

Location: High on the W side of the Ebbw Valley, reached by a pathway from the foot of Cwm Kendon or by Load of Hay Road above.

County: Caerphilly

Community: Crumlin (Crymlyn)

Community: Crumlin

Built-Up Area: Newbridge

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

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History

Viaduct built by TW Kennard in 1857 for the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway as part of an extension to the Taff Vale Railway close to the interesection with the Western Valley Line of the Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Company from Newport to Blaina and Ebbw Vale. Impetus came from the N.A.& H. Railway Company with the aim of gaining access to the Glamorgan coalfields. The track was carried across the Ebbw Vale and Cwm Kendon, crossing the land spur between, in a curve, a length of 1558 ft ( c 475m) and at a height of c 210 ft (64m). Design comprised open cross-braced tapering iron piers to support the wooden deck with track in 10 equal spans of c 150 ft (45.7m). The piers themselves were constructed of 14 hollow cast iron columns arranged in an irregular hexagon; each span had 4 main girders. 4 substantial stone abutments, one on each side of the Ebbw and Kendon valleys: 6200 cubic yds (c 5670 cubic m) masonry. Much of the ironwork was manufactured locally at Blaenavon but there are references to castings being supplied by Kennard's works in Falkirk. Others involved in the construction are named as Owen Jones, reported as associated with the construction of the Crystal Palace and also Crumlin Hall, Liddell and Gordon the engineers of the line, Rennie the contractor and Henry Maynard who was responsible for testing the structure and wrote a handbook about it in 1862. Took 3.5 years to build, cost £62,000. Opening ceremony, widely attended and reported, involved placing in a recess of one pier a cup containing coins of current date; the first train with open top carriages crossed the viaduct accompanied by canons firing. From the beginning the structure was described in superlatives as a wonder of engineering, the only one of its kind in the world, compared only with the medieval stone aqueduct of Spoleto and the Portage Timber Viaduct in the USA; it was widely visited and the combination of brilliant engineering and spectacular scenery much admired and reported, The Kennard firm and the Viaduct Works also produced major bridges for sites across the world. As well as the workshops, Kennard also erected places of worship, workers' facilities such as a reading room, and nearby Crumlin Hall where he lived. Viaduct demolished in 1966 following closure in 1964, though the 4 stone abutments survive.

Exterior

All four abutments are of snecked rockfaced stone with ashlar dressings and comprise a retaining wall with heavy rockfaced quoins with tooled arises, corniced coping and 3 massive angled buttresses, the offset defined by a thick moulded ashlar band similar in profile to the coping. The lower part is battered as needed into the slope, the central part of the wall between the piers slightly recessed.

Reasons for Listing

Abutments are listed as the only surviving features of this major mid C19 engineering work.

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