Old Photographs: West Bridge

This page features photographs of the Great Central viaduct at West Bridge, Leicester, just south of the station, around the time of the demolition of the bridges.

West Bridge viaduct was one of the most prominent features of the Great Central Railway through Leicester since trains passed on a series of bridges over the important thoroughfare here.  Removing the bridges opened up the area and allowed a dramatic rearrangement of the roads.

Note that these photographs were taken with a panorama camera and give a different perspective compared with a normal camera.  They are equivalent to standing close to the viaduct and turning the head from one side to the other - so the viaduct in front is close and looks very big whereas the viaduct well to the side is far away and looks small.

The first half of the photographs here is of the viaduct around West Bridge in 1978, on a series of visits shortly before the demolition of the bridges.

GCR viaduct, Bath lane, Leicester

The bridge over Bath Lane, looking south.  The buildings behind the embankment are in Talbot Lane.

West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester

West Bridge, looking north along the canalised river Soar.  Bath Lane bridge, shown in the previous photograph, is on the far right.

West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester

Preparations for demolition were starting to be made at West bridge, looking west away from the city centre, as can be seen by the presence of the demolition contractor’s van.  West Bridge Street is on the left, Saint Augustine Street in the centre, and the canal on the right.

West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester

A closer look at the bridges over West Bridge Street and Saint Augustine Street.

West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester

This photograph demonstrates how the West Bridge viaduct dominated this area, looking south with the city centre to the left.  Leicester Central station was a couple of hundred yards off the picture to the left and London is about 100 miles to the right.

Looking towards the city centre.  Prominent reference points standing tall in the background are the Holiday Inn on the left and the Pex factory (now the Land Registry) on the right.

West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester

The bridge over West Bridge Street, looking towards the city centre.

Ex-Great Central Railway viaduct, Dunns Lane, Leicester

The viaduct alongside Dunns Lane, with the opening for Corah Street straight ahead and West Bridge on the far left.  The strange perspective of the panorama camera is particularly striking in this photograph.

The second half of the photographs is of the demolition of the bridges of the viaduct around West Bridge in 1978.

The viaduct and bridges at West Bridge were demolished for road widening at this very busy bottleneck.

Demolition of West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester

Demolition of the bridges started by removing the decking steelwork.

Demolition of West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester

The blue and white bus used for transporting employees of the British Shoe Corporation to and from the company’s warehouse at Braunstone Frith, now long in other use, is of interest in this view as also is red demolition contractor’s van on the bridge over the river/canal.

Demolition of West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester

As part of the road widening project, the small shops that were on the right against the viaduct have already been demolished.

Demolition of West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester

The final part of West Bridge Street bridge being removed, looking towards the city centre.

Demolition of West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester

The view from the other side of the viaduct immediately after the final part of West Bridge Street bridge had been removed.

Demolition of West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester

The parapet of the bridge over the canal has also been removed.

Demolition of West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester

View from the west.

West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester, after demolition

Days later and all of the bridges have been removed.

West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester, after demolition

The view at West Bridge now was very strange and open.

West Bridge viaduct, GCR, Leicester, after demolition

The remaining brick supports for the bridges were later removed and the whole road layout was remodeled.

Old Photographs Section

© 2001-2017   Text and photographs copyright Nigel Tout, unless otherwise indicated.