City of Winchester UK
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Hockley Viaduct - The biggest brick built structure in the country, and the oldest in Britain with a concrete core.

This fine 110 year old Victorian edifice is the largest brick built  structure in the country, and the oldest in Britain with a concrete core. Despite these important facts, English Heritage refuse to grant this important piece of our heritage ‘Listed’ status.

The viaduct, 2,014 ft (614m) long with 33 arches, carried the link between the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton railway with the the South West Main Line, and was in use for passenger traffic until 1960, and freight until 1966. The track also passed through a tunnel under St Giles Hill before reaching the station at Chesil Street, now the site of a multi-storey car park. Much of the disused railway land, including the Viaduct and the Tunnel, is owned by Winchester City Council. They have proposed to renovate the viaduct and build a footpath and cycle way along it, and to provide special ‘viewing platforms’ to enable pedestrians to look over the 6ft  (1800mm) parapet walls. Access for the disabled would also be improved. Due to the high cost of this  work, estimated recently at  between 500,000 - 750,000, the City Council is unable to proceed without additional funding. Approaches to the National Lottery are very unlikely to succeed unless English Heritage agree to afford the structure ‘Listed’ status. Despite Southampton University Industrial Archaeology Group having proved that the viaduct is the first of it’s kind to have a concrete core, and the efforts of The City of Winchester Trust, the future looks bleak for this historic and major feature of the landscape on the outskirts of the City, unless other sources of funding can be found.

The worst section of damaged parapet, on the North West side
View looking South along the Viaduct track

Although Winchester City Council have carried out some essential maintenance and improved public access, the viaduct has suffered from vandalism and neglect. Long lengths of the copings have been removed and sections of the parapet walls have been dislodged. In some places the full height of the 18 inch thick walls have been demolished. Much of the parapet walls need re-pointing, and the track way has become overgrown with weeds.  It is basically sound, but does need to be repaired and re-pointed. To this end the City Council announced in 2007 a 500,000 rolling programme of repairs to be done over 12 years.

Two great landmarks on the outskirts of the City. The Viaduct and the Twyford down cutting for the M3 Mororway. Both great engineering feats of their times.
The worst section of damaged parapet, on the North West side
View looking North to St Catherines Hill in the far centre distance.
View from the viaduct looking West toward Winchester across the water meadows.

The Friends of Hockley Viaduct have their own web site where you can find additional, and up to date information about this important landmark.

View of the Viaduct from the Meadows
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