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Gariel, Coignet and then Monier built concrete arches (without reinforcement) in continental Europe in the 1850s. The earliest known UK example of a mass concrete bridge, was on the District Line, near Cromwell Road, London. It was designed by Thomas Marr Johnson for Sir John Fowler and built in about 1865. Other British engineers began to use plain concrete for bridge superstructures, notably Philip Brannan, who erected a three-span concrete arch, including a 50 ft (15 m) middle span, at Seaton in Devon in 1877.
Railway engineers were also active at this time, using plain concrete on the Dochart Viaduct, with the London and South Western Railway and the West Highland Railway using mass concrete towards the end of the 19th century. Plain concrete was used on the Carrington Viaduct (1903).
A paper by Chrimes entitled The development of concrete bridges in the British Isles prior to 1940 was published in 1996, see Reference below. This traces the the use of concrete for bridges in the British Isles from its 19th century origins to the outbreak of the Second World War.
Concrete Society Technical Report 70, Historical approaches to the design of concrete buildings and structures, reviews the development of design standards for bridges and gives information on how concrete and steel design strengths have developed over the years.
Acknowledgement: Concrete Bridge Development Group
Other references:Chrimes, MM. ´The development of concrete bridges in the British Isles prior to 1940´, Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers, Structures and Buildings, August/December 1996, pp. 404-431.
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