Historic Blackfriars Railway Bridge shields dismantled for Thameslink works

If you've crossed Blackfriars Bridge in the last couple of weeks you might have noticed that something is missing.

Historic Blackfriars Railway Bridge shields dismantled for Thameslink works
Photo: Christopher Holt
Historic Blackfriars Railway Bridge shields dismantled for Thameslink works
Photo: Christopher Holt
Historic Blackfriars Railway Bridge shields dismantled for Thameslink works
Photo: Christopher Holt
Historic Blackfriars Railway Bridge shields dismantled for Thameslink works
What the shields will look like when they are returned to the abutment
Historic Blackfriars Railway Bridge shields dismantled for Thameslink works
This image from mid-February shows how some of the piers of the former railway bridge have been partially demolished for incorporation into the newly widened adjacent bridge

The two historic London, Chatham & Dover Railway crests at the southern end of the former Blackfriars Railway Bridge were dismantled last month as work continues on the construction of a new cross-river station as part of the Thameslink Programme.

The original Blackfriars Railway Bridge was dismantled in 1985 but the London, Chatham & Dover Railway shields on the southern abutment were restored in 1990. The abutment and shields were listed at grade II in 1995.

Last month the cartouches – which weigh 16,100 kg each – were dismantled by contractors working on Network Rail's Thameslink programme.

Network Rail intends to have each of the pieces professionally cleaned to remove any graffiti. The cast iron pieces will be repaired and painted.

The cartouches – which are nearly 150 years old – will then be reassembled and installed back-to-back above the western side of the new south station entrance.

"Network Rail is committed to respecting and preserving the rich history of Blackfriars rail station, while at the same time creating new history by building the first new station entrance on the south bank in over 120 years and the first station to span the River Thames," said a spokesman for the rail infrastructure company.

"The work on these cartouches and the restoration of the Temperance Fountain, Queen Victoria statue and the destination wall at the north station underlines the company's commitment."

Some of the columns of the old bridge have been partially demolished to allow the existing bridge to be widened to accommodate the new platforms and tracks.

The Thames Path will be diverted to run underneath the southern abutment of the former bridge.

One of the matching shields which originally stood on the northern abutment now adorns the garden of millionaire railway enthusiast Sir William McAlpine.

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