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Hellesdon Bridge, near Norwich, Norfolk: unexecuted design, 1785 (1)

Signed and dated

  • 1785


This drawing appears to be an unfinished, early design dated 29 January 1785 kept as a record drawing and the verso used to make a copy of Soane's letter to the Corporation of Norwich, dated 7 February 1785. Soane must have hoped that his Blackfriars Bridge in Norwich (q.v.) opened in 1784, would secure him a further commisssion but James Frost's design for a brick and timber bridge was chosen instead. Soane's drawing for Hellesdon Bridge, dated February 1785 is in the Norwich City Records Office as is a plan and estimate from James Frost junior for rebuilding Hellesdon Bridge in 1818 (Bridges: bundle V, items 67 and 71 respectively).

There is a Soane Museum drawing with a plan and 3 sections of a bridge (SM 79/1/7) that shows an elliptical arch as do the bridges at Norwich, 1783 and at Hellesdon, 1785 (q.q.v.). This unidentified bridge is 56 feet wide while Blackfriars Bridge, Norwich has a span of 42 feet and Hellesdon, 36 feet.

Jill Lever, December 2008



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).  

Contents of Hellesdon Bridge, near Norwich, Norfolk: unexecuted design, 1785 (1)