Paddock Viaduct

Paddock Viaduct is curved railway viaduct which carries the Huddersfield & Sheffield Junction Railway (now known as the Penistone Line) over Longroyd Lane, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, the River Colne, and Manchester Road (formerly known as Thornton Road).

The viaduct was designed by civil engineer John Hawkshaw.[1]


Although work had begun on the Huddersfield & Sheffield Junction Railway in 1845, legal challenges delayed the acquisition of the required land at Paddock until 1849. In particular, several "large and respectable houses" — including one recently built for £1,400[2] — has to be demolished. The foundation stone was eventually laid on Thursday 3 May 1849 by "the infant son of Mr. Frazer, the resident engineer on the works". Afterwards, around 280 people "were regaled at the Nag's Head Inn, at Paddock, and the Red Lion Inn, at Lockwood".[3]

The first fatality connected to the viaduct occurred at the end of May when 52-year-old David Hill of Paddock "was accidentally killed by falling into a pit, whilst working at the Paddock viaducts of the Huddersfield and Sheffield Railway".[4]

Work on construction was well under way when the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway opened in July 1849.[5]

On the morning of Wednesday 21 November 1849, 20-year-old labourer William Robinson[6] was working on the viaduct when he stood on a plank of wood which gave way. He fell about 70 feet onto the river bank and was found unconscious with a badly fractured skull. Robinson was taken to the Railway Hotel but died mid-afternoon. The Leeds Mercury noted that the unfortunately man had only been married for a few days and had previously worked as a chimney sweep.[7]

The Huddersfield & Sheffield Junction Railway was formally opened on 1 July 1850.

In May 1881, the Directors of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway advertised for tenders for the renewal of masonry and ironwork on the viaduct.[8] The work appears to have been carried out in early 1882.


Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:

Just past St. Thomas's Church, the scene ahead is dominated by the Paddock Viaduct which carries the Penistone line across the canal and the river. On the 19th August 1865 the viaduct was the scene of an episode in a drama that might well have been called, in the language of the times, "The Remarkable Rampage of the Runaway Railway-train and its Regrettable Ruin". The story starts at Lockwood where an engine was shunting carriages from one siding to another. Suddenly, eleven of the carriages broke loose and started down the incline towards Huddersfield. The engine driver set off in close pursuit and as he passed through Lockwood Station a porter there, named Sykes, with great presence of mind jumped aboard to do what he could to help the driver recover his train. They caught up with the carriages on the viaduct here at Paddock Foot and Sykes courageously scrambled to the front of the speeding engine and somehow managed to hook up the runaway carriages. The driver, relieved that the drama was, as he thought, over, applied the brakes. Unfortunately, he braked too hard, the coupling broke and off went the carriages again. Once more the engine followed and in Springwood tunnel Sykes again tried to couple the train but was unable to do so as the shackle was broken. Meanwhile, the pointsman at Springwood had telegraphed a warning to Huddersfield Station and by the time the runaways emerged from the tunnel a sleeper had been laid across the line at the end of the station. This somewhat desperate measure resulted in a spectacular derailment which severely damaged three of the carriages. Unfortunately, we have no further information about the porter or the engine driver.

Historic England Listing

  • Grade II
  • first listed 29 September 1978
  • listing entry number 1134435

Paddock Railway Viaduct, Gledholt. The engineer may have been John Hawkshaw, and the contractors Messrs Miller, 3lackie and Shortridge; as they were employed by the company on Lockwood Viaduct. Rock-faced stone. Ashlar band and parapet coping. 6 round arches on very tall piers at north end. 4 box girder trusses on piers with moulded bases and imposts. 5 round arches (2 blocked) at south end. Flat iron span over Manchester Road. 70 ft high. The line was opened on 1 July 1850.

Further Reading


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Notes and References

  1. Hawkshaw is named as the architect in a review of Papers and Practical Illustrations of Public Works of Recent Construction, both British and American in the Morning Post (08/Jan/1856).
  2. Perhaps the equivalent of £300,000 to £400,000 in modern terms.
  3. "Huddersfield and Sheffield Railway" in Leeds Intelligencer (12/May/1849).
  4. "Inquests" in Leeds Intelligencer (02/Jun/1849). Hill was buried on 3 June 1849 at All Saints' Church, Paddock.
  5. "Opening of the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway" in Leeds Intelligencer (21/Jul/1849).
  6. Born the son of delver John Robinson, he married Ann Pearson (aged 22) of Spring Mill, Almondbury, daughter of wool comber Joseph Pearson, on 18 November 1849 at All Hallows, Almondbury. He was buried at St. Luke's Church, Milnsbridge, on 24 November.
  7. "Fatal Accident at the Paddock Viaduct"in Leeds Mercury (24/Nov/1849).
  8. "Contracts" in Manchester Courier (31/May/1881).