FolkestoneJack's Tracks

The view from the bridge

Posted in England, South Norwood by folkestonejack on February 23, 2014

The railway line that cuts through South Norwood has given many a developer and urban planner a headache over the years, but particularly in 2013/14 as the two bridges that cross the line have required substantial repair (Goat House Bridge) and replacement (Tennison Road Bridge).

The existing bridge at Tennison Road is due to be demolished between September and November 2014 and with it will go the views in each direction – a vista of Croydon’s skyline to the south and a view of Norwood Junction to the north. The design of the replacement span for the new bridge is focused on the protection of the operational railway (ensuring that the impact of any road accident will be isolated upon the bridge structure) and this includes taller bridge parapets. The views are an unfortunate, but necessary, casualty.

66112 passes through Norwood Junction on 25th March 2012

A freight train passes through Norwood Junction on 25th March 2012

I would not dream of claiming that these are the most exciting or scenic views that you are ever likely to see, but the bridge has provided a window on the changing landscape of the area since the late 19th century. It has also been a view that I have become very familiar with over the years, from the moment that I grew tall enough to look over the top (or more likely, persuaded my father to give me a shoulder top view!).

Recently I came across a shot that I had taken of the view north of the bridge around 1990 and returned to photograph the matching scene in 2014, providing an interesting comparison of some of the changes that have taken place in the last quarter of a century.

The view north from Tennison Road Bridge circa 1990

The view in 1990

The view north from Tennison Road Bridge in February 2014

The view in 2014

In the time between the two photographs the sidings north of the bridge have disappeared, the industrial units visible next to the single carriage have been replaced by flats (in a nice touch the roof of the block mimics that of the building they replaced) and the scrapyard has given way to houses. In the background of the 2014 shot, Goat House Bridge can be seen as it nears the end of its renewal (whilst the Goat House pub has been replaced by a block of flats).

On the other side of the bridge the changes have been more dramatic – the old paint shop at Selhurst has been demolished, the lighting tower was cut down around ten years ago and a considerable number of sidings have vanished. I am sure that if you delved further back the changes to the views would be even more striking. It would be especially startling to slip back in time one hundred years to find the railway line electrified with overhead cables (in contrast to the ground level third rail electrification of today) and surrounded by a landscape of allotments/open fields!

It is quite astonishing to think how much change could be glimpsed from this bridge during its lifetime and I for one will be a little bit sorry to see that disappear.

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One Response

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  1. […] was lucky timing as this view is set to disappear shortly with Tennison Road Bridge scheduled to close on 16th June 2014 (ahead of its demolition and […]


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