Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Thursday, 16 June 2011

ABC of Chippenham: Viaduct

With this stonking great Viaduct dominating its centre, there's no escaping that one of Chippenham's various identities is that of a railway town. Built by Brunel (the subject of the letter I in this series) in 1841, it's one of the architectural wonders of his Great Western Railway. The structure also sports a blue plaque similar to the one I showed you in the above link.

It's a listed building and as it forms the gateway to Chippenham, it was decided to illuminate it at night as the town's nod towards celebrating the Millennium. Seeing our local bypass is no longer lit from midnight until the early hours, I suspect the viaduct's lighting has been included in this cutback too.

Whilst it might be an architectural wonder, I believe it's too dominant of much of our town's central space. I've often wondered if some of the ideas at Kilver Court could be used to soften its edges. Of course this would need to be tempered with the requirement not to create some hidey holes for evil doers, but closer inspection reveals the non-road area under the arches is being used as a car park come barrel storage place for the local shops and pub.

It would be good if these were screened in some way as they're an eyesore. Perhaps some more trees and shrubs on the grassed areas shown in the picture plus on the other side of the viaduct would help to do this? I believe this could be achieved without compromising the lines of sight needed for the traffic and pedestrians.

This is the view towards town taken not far from the cinema. The following link shows you another view from New Road (the road leading off the left of this picture) when I wrote about Chippenham's web cam.

This is for ABC Wednesday (albeit a day late) and forms the 22nd of my themed posts about Chippenham. Sorry Mark, V wasn't about your blog after all, though it is a worthy contender ;)

7 comments:

  1. something quite steadying about a viaduct, which matchess form and function well.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

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  2. since it's a listed building, does that mean one can't let ivies & vined flowers/fruits grow until the viaduct is covered completely...like a huge hedge?

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  3. ROG - quite

    Petoskystone - I'm not sure. There's a couple of other issues here - the viaduct is owned by the railway, whilst the surrounding land is owned by the local council. The railway have responsibility for the upkeep of the structure.

    Much of the surrounding land is road or concrete, so there aren't that many places where ivy and vines can be grown. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll see that nature has taken a hand, so there's ivy creeping up the structure in one of the few spots where there's growing space right next to it!

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  4. I like the viaducts very much and think they could become much more of a feature of the town. Since moving near the centre I've taken to walking round the streets with Jane (not like tramps you understand) and I've been continually surprised at the architecture and especially all the hidden cottages around town. The Hamlet area is especially nice.

    Anyhow, I'm waffling now.

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  5. Very nice choice of V.

    Late bloghopping for ABC, please drop by when you can to see my V Entry thanks!

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  6. Thought would compare your viaduct to mine!
    Pensford more elegant, I think. Pity can't do a high line on both!
    There's some great graffiti being done in Bristol now!
    Fab series this VP.
    Best
    R

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  7. Mark - doing this series has made me appreciate Chippenham more too :)

    Chubskulit - thanks

    Robert - the use of local stone with your example makes it look much better than the usual brick methinks

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