Cantlop Bridge

History of Cantlop Bridge

The cast-iron Cantlop bridge, built in 1813, was part of an expanding network of bridges built to improve communication and trade in Shropshire.

Cantlop Bridge with Cound Brook flowing below
Detail of the cast iron span of the bridge

The single-span bridge was built to an innovative design approved by the Scottish civil engineer Thomas Telford. Unlike the bridge at Iron Bridge, built by Abraham Darby, Cantlop Bridge does not follow the design of a wooden bridge.

Telford recognised the strength of iron and engineered lighter frames that required less of this material. The structure was strong enough to support a flat deck without a central pier that could hinder navigation along the river.

Cantlop Bridge is the only Telford-approved cast-iron bridge remaining in situ in Shropshire. Cast iron is a very durable material, but it is relatively weak in tension and is no longer considered suitable for road bridges.

The bridge has not been used by traffic since the 1970s when the adjacent concrete bridge was built.

Further Reading

Blackwall, A, Historic Bridges of Shropshire (Shrewsbury, 1985)

Burton, A, Thomas Telford (London, 1999)

Sutherland, RJM, Structural Iron, 1750–1850 (Aldershot, 1997)

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