This page features photographs of the Great Central viaduct at West Bridge, Leicester, just south of the station, around the time of the demolition of the bridges.
West Bridge viaduct was one of the most prominent features of the Great Central Railway through Leicester since trains passed on a series of bridges over the important thoroughfare here. Removing the bridges opened up the area and allowed a dramatic rearrangement of the roads.
Note that these photographs were taken with a panorama camera and give a different perspective compared with a normal camera. They are equivalent to standing close to the viaduct and turning the head from one side to the other - so the viaduct in front is close and looks very big whereas the viaduct well to the side is far away and looks small.
The first half of the photographs here is of the viaduct around West Bridge in 1978, on a series of visits shortly before the demolition of the bridges.
The bridge over Bath Lane, looking south. The buildings behind the embankment are in Talbot Lane.
West Bridge, looking north along the canalised river Soar. Bath Lane bridge, shown in the previous photograph, is on the far right.
Preparations for demolition were starting to be made at West bridge, looking west away from the city centre, as can be seen by the presence of the demolition contractor’s van. West Bridge Street is on the left, Saint Augustine Street in the centre, and the canal on the right.
A closer look at the bridges over West Bridge Street and Saint Augustine Street.
This photograph demonstrates how the West Bridge viaduct dominated this area, looking south with the city centre to the left. Leicester Central station was a couple of hundred yards off the picture to the left and London is about 100 miles to the right.
Looking towards the city centre. Prominent reference points standing tall in the background are the Holiday Inn on the left and the Pex factory (now the Land Registry) on the right.
The bridge over West Bridge Street, looking towards the city centre.
The viaduct alongside Dunns Lane, with the opening for Corah Street straight ahead and West Bridge on the far left. The strange perspective of the panorama camera is particularly striking in this photograph.
The second half of the photographs is of the demolition of the bridges of the viaduct around West Bridge in 1978.
The viaduct and bridges at West Bridge were demolished for road widening at this very busy bottleneck.
Demolition of the bridges started by removing the decking steelwork.
The blue and white bus used for transporting employees of the British Shoe Corporation to and from the company’s warehouse at Braunstone Frith, now long in other use, is of interest in this view as also is red demolition contractor’s van on the bridge over the river/canal.
As part of the road widening project, the small shops that were on the right against the viaduct have already been demolished.
The final part of West Bridge Street bridge being removed, looking towards the city centre.
The view from the other side of the viaduct immediately after the final part of West Bridge Street bridge had been removed.
The parapet of the bridge over the canal has also been removed.
View from the west.
Days later and all of the bridges have been removed.
The view at West Bridge now was very strange and open.
The remaining brick supports for the bridges were later removed and the whole road layout was remodeled.
© 2001-2017 Text and photographs copyright Nigel Tout, unless otherwise indicated.