Published: 15 June 2021
Bolton Percy resident Professor John Taylor would be interested in any opinions/feedback on the proposal below (in conjunction with Tadcaster Town Council in partnership with multi-agencies) for enhanced listing of the viaduct from grade II to grade II*, which has funding implications in safeguarding this iconic structure. He can be contacted on 01904 744483.
DISUSED RAILWAY VIADUCT OVER RIVER WHARFE (TO NORTH OF TOWN) – LIST NO. 1167141. FIRST LISTING 12 JULY 1985 – GRID REF. SE4843-4943 8/87
With respect to the attached outline case for an amended ‘listing’ from Grade II to Grade II*, may I suggest that the Tadcaster, Selby and North Yorkshire Councils allow their Conservation Officers to complete the standard pro-forma for Historic England e.g.
A ARCHITECTURAL INTEREST
A1 The Design & Aesthetic merit is particularly significant and distinctive in relation to the historic river Wharfe Roman crossing, and its much-admired riverside walk. It is a quintessential example of the best of the railway age.
A2 Decoration- it represents a truly iconic monument of very real significance, especially in terms of an engineering machine aesthetic of the Victorian Industrial Revolution, and pioneering railway development.
A3 Craftmanship/Artistic interest – the level of craftmanship is in the very best traditions of railway engineering. Much to the credit of all involved the Viaduct has stood the test of time and given its over-170-year age, retains much of its original quality and outstanding craftmanship.
B HISTORICAL INTEREST
B1 An historic landmark as an exemplar of good practice in the nation’s history of railway development.
B2 A unique example of the collaboration between George Hudson (The Railway King) and his chief engineer, Robert Stevenson, and the leading project engineer John Towlerton Leather.
B3 An outstanding example, demonstrating the historic ambition of railway pioneers demonstrated ambitiousness and sensitivity to achieve the very best for landscape settings. Thus, the Viaduct represents a unique example of the golden age of railway building within a scenic riverside walkway setting, greatly valued by residents and visitors.
B4 Historical relevance
The Viaduct is a major monument to the railway expansion era. It was never used for its designated purpose. Happily, in addition to its scenic value, it did fulfil various multi-uses, ranging from facilitating access to materials for the riverside cornmill, providing a cross-country pipeline route, and an emergency pedestrian thoroughfare when flooding separated east and west Tadcaster. Many of these unique features have been the basis for innovative living history projects in local schools.
In summary, Frank Lloyd Wright’s (1931) ‘Two lectures on architecture” comments seem particularly appropriate:” the good building makes the landscape more beautiful than it was before the building was built”
The Tadcaster Viaduct is a quintessential example of the very best of pioneering railways at their height under the stewardship of George Hudson, Robert Stevenson and John Towlerton Leather. The Viaduct is clearly of equal standing to other!!* rated viaduct sites, for example, in Harrogate and Knaresborough.
In short, it represents an outstanding scenic landmark which enhances the River Wharfe, its weir and the much-acclaimed riverside walk. It is a truly iconic structure of considerable grace and elegance. Above all it should be valued for its supreme quality as an historical structure, monumental design and unique setting.