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Miscellaneous Southern Artefacts
The Lady Wimborne Bridge

Lady Wimborne Bridge
Otherwise known as Bridge 77, The Lady Wimborne Bridge is immediately on the station (north) side of Wimborne Junction. This is the plaque explaining its history.

photograph by Chris Osment

 
The plaque reads:
This railway bridge was built over the then main driveway to Canford House, now Canford School, to convey the Southampton and Dorchester Railway, which opened on the 1 June 1847.
The Dorset Central Railway, from Bath, which later became the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway, joined the line at a junction by the southern end of this bridge, opening on the 1 November 1860.
The last scheduled passenger train from Wimborne was on the 2 May 1964, although freight trains continued to use the line until final closure on the 3 May 1977.

The bridge is one of the most ornately carved railway bridges in the country. It is faced with Ham stone from a quarry near Yeovil, with local brick used for the underside of the arch. There are five shields carved on both sides of the bridge and pinnacles at the ends of the parapets.
The central crest on the bridge was that adopted by Sir John and Lady Charlotte Guest who bought the Canford Estate in 1846. Sir John Guest (who was one of the greatest iron founders of the time, his ironworks being situated in Dowlais, South Wales) would only allow the railway to cross his drive if the bridge were constructed to the design of his architect, Sir Charles Barry. Their son, Ivor, was created Lord Wimborne in 1880. It is due to his wife Cornelia that the distinctive estate cottages, seen in the area around Poole, have become known as "Lady Wimborne Cottages". Like her mother-in-law Lady Charlotte, Lady Wimborne was a philanthropist who cared deeply for the welfare of the estate workers. The house was sold in 1923 to become what is now Canford School.

Today the bridge forms one of the structures along the Stour Valley Way and Castleman's Trailway. This trailway is named after Charles Castleman, a Wimborne solicitor, who was chiefly responsible for bringing the railway to Wimborne.

With the support of Poole Borough Council, a small group of volunteers, known as "The Friends of the Lady Wimborne Bridge", meet regularly to keep the area tidy.

 
Lady Wimborne Bridge The west (up side of the line) side of this impressive bridge, photographed on 18th April 2009.

photograph by Chris Osment

 
The crest adopted by Sir John and Lady Charlotte Guest.

photograph by Chris Osment

Lady Wimborne Bridge
 
Lady Wimborne Bridge The bridge as viewed from the east side.

photograph by Chris Osment

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This page was created 17 December 2009

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