Heritage Locations

Victoria Bridge, Hereford

A wrought iron suspension bridge built in 1898 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, and listed Grade II.


Period of construction:
1850 - 1899

Transport Trust plaque:

Transport Mode:

Mill Street, Hereford HR1 2NT


Nearest Town:

Heritage Centre:

A suspension bridge is a type of bridge in which the deck (the load-bearing portion) is hung below suspension cables on vertical suspenders. This type of bridge dates from the early 19th century. The first design for a bridge resembling the modern suspension bridge in the West is attributed to Fausto Veranzio, whose 1595 book "Machinae Novae" included drawings both for a timber and rope suspension bridge, and a hybrid suspension and cable-stayed bridge using iron chains. However, the first such bridge actually built was James Finley's iron chain bridge at Jacob's Creek, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, in 1801. This was widely publicised from 1810 onwards, beginning a period of rapid development of the modern suspension bridge.

Early British chain bridges included the Dryburgh Abbey Bridge (1817) and Union Bridge (1820), with spans rapidly increasing to 176 m with the Menai Suspension Bridge (1826). The Clifton Suspension Bridge (designed in 1831, completed in 1864 with a 214 m central span) is one of the longest of the parabolic arc chain type.

The first wire-cable suspension bridge was the Footbridge at Falls of Schuylkill (1816), a modest and temporary structure built following the collapse of James Finley's Chain Bridge at Falls of Schuylkill (1808), shown above. The footbridge's span was 124 m, although its deck was only 0.45 m wide.

The first permanent wire cable suspension bridge was Guillaume Henri Dufour's Saint Antoine Bridge in Geneva of 1823, with two 40 m spans. The first with cables assembled in mid-air in the modern method was Joseph Chaley's Grand Pont Suspendu in Fribourg, in 1834.

The Victoria footridge was opened in 1898 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria the previous year. It replaced an earlier ferry across the River Wye from Mill Street to the Bishop's Meadow. John Parker designed the bridge and Findlay & Co of Motherwell Glasgow constructed the wrought iron latticework. The suspension bridge consists of two main piers with ornamental steel towers above. The royal arms are displayed on both sides of the centre span and each of the steel arches. The central span is 110 feet.

Burr, William Hubert, A Course on the Stresses in Bridge and Roof Trusses, Arched Ribs and Suspension Bridges (1886), Kessinger Publishing, ISBN-10: 1104171740 (2009)

Drewry, C.S., A Memoir of Suspension Bridges: Comprising a History of their Origin, BiblioBazaar, ISBN -10 05547 25657 (2008)

Melan, Josef, Theory of Arches and Suspension Bridges (1913, Kessinger Publishing, ISBN-10: 1437437125 (2008)

Minchinton, W., A Guide to Industrial Archaeology sites in Britain, Granada ASIN: B0020ZCPRY (1984)

Peters, Tom,
Transitions in Engineering: Guillaume Henri Dufour and the Early 19th Century Cable Suspension Bridges, Birkhauser, ISBN-10: 3764319291 (1987)

Steinman, David, A Practical Treatise on Suspension Bridges: Their Design, Construction and Erection (1922), Kessinger Publishing, ISBN-10: 1436606446 (2008)

Steinman, David
, Suspension Bridges and Cantilevers, BiblioBazaar, ISBN-10: 0559673132 (2008)

Opening Times:
Open at all times

How To Find:
By Road: It has to be approached on foot and the easiest access is from Mill Street east of the cathedral. There is a bus stop near.

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