Bennerley Viaduct, a Grade II* structure, crossing the Erewash Valley between Awsworth (in Nottinghamshire) and Ilkeston (in Derbyshire) in central England. It was built for the Great Northern Railways Derbyshire and Stafford line, and, according to its entry in Grace's Guide, designed by the line's Chief Civil Engineer, Richard Johnson (1827-1924), though the listing text gives more prominence to the resident engineer, Samuel Abbott (1842-1890). The listing text continues: "The 433m long structure was built by Benton and Woodiwiss with wrought-iron components produced by Eastwood and Swingler of Derby, and carried the line over the River Erewash at a height of over 18m."

The choice of wrought iron instead of heavier brick was determined by the prevalence of subsidence in the area, as a result of coal mining, but the columns do have "stone capped blue brick foundations" ("Bennerley Viaduct").

Left: The view from underneath shows the structure of the trestle. The only similar structure in Britain, combining lattice girders and metal trestles, was at Dowery Dell, West Midlands, now demolished. Right: The view from the north shows the wrought iron lattice-truss girders, unlike the Warren trusses used elsewhere. I travelled across it in my youth, on a holiday special from Loughborough Central to Llandudno, and revisited just to take these pictures in 2018 — Colin Price.

The viaduct was used until 1968, when it fell into disuse following cuts to services by Dr Beeching, then Chairman of the British Railways Board. Happily, it was not demolished. According to the listing text, it is "one of only two surviving wrought-iron viaducts in England, the other being the Meldon viaduct in Devon." An important piece of railway heritage, the viaduct has been restored for use by cyclists, walkers and wheelchair-users. The main picture shows its full length, from the south.

Photographs by Colin Price and commentary by Price and Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or to the Victorian Web in a print document. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]


"Bennerley Viaduct, Awsworth Road." Historic England. Web. 1 April 2022.

"Bennerley Viaduct." Grace's Guide. Web. 1 April 2022.

Created 1 April 2022