March Barn Bridge, Rochdale Canal
County Council (Unitary)
Heywood and Middleton
SJ887887 (388651, 411044)
The nearest postcode is an aid to location, and does not necessarily reflect the actual address of the monument. Most scheduled monuments are not occupied buildings and have no postal address or postcode of their own. In rural and coastal areas, the nearest geocodable postal address may be several miles away.
March Barn Bridge, designed by William Jessop in 1797, is the first true 'skew' bridge in England. It was based on an earlier design by William Chapman for bridges on the Kildare Canal in Ireland.
When a bridge crossed a road or canal at right-angles, the load could be transmitted to the foundations easily. But when built at an angle of 15 degrees or more, the force was thrown outside the line of the abutments, leading to weakness in the bridge. Chapman solved the problem by building the arch using winding courses of masonry, a method which was difficult but effective.
Paul Heath, 6 July 2012
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