Brunel’s Windmill Bridge in Photos

Windmill Bridge is located in West London, near Hanwell flight of locks on Grand Junction Canal. It is better known as Three Bridges even though there aren’t three bridges. It’s a clever structure that makes road, canal and railway crossing possible at the same spot. It was opened 160 years ago.

The engineer was Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and Windmill Bridge was part of his last railway project. The work started in 1856. It was built by E. R. Murray and J. L. Tredwell according to Historic England website. The project was completed just before Brunel’s death in 1859. It is nowadays a scheduled monument. I visited the bridge with Susan and Daniel Hayton on the sunny autumn day, 24 September 2017.

1. Three Bridges, London, 24 September 2017, canalwalk

The road bridge on the top carries Windmill Lane over the Grand Junction Canal and the freight only Brentford branch line from Southall to Brentford.

2. Three Bridges, London, 24 September 2017
This is taken from the road bridge. A cast-iron aqueduct is carrying the waters of the Grand Junction Canal under the bridge and over the railway (currently known as Brentford branch line). Originally the railway was called Great Western and Brentford Railway and it was double-track broad gauge railway (source).  
3. Three Bridges, London, 24 September 2017
The waters of Grand Union Canal are carried over the railway by a cast-iron aqueduct.
4. Three Bridges, London, 24 September 2017
The Brentford branch line is nowadays a single-track railway.

I don’t know when the other track was dismantled but they still existed in the 60s but had gone by 1972. I gather this after watching the pictures on the Disused Stations website.

5. Three Bridges, London, 24 September 2017
Strainer arches over the railway.
6. Three Bridges, London, 24 September 2017
On the side plate girders there can be seen the iron founder’s name and address: MATTw T SHAW 64 CANNON STREET CITY.

7. Three Bridges, London, 24 September 2017

Under the road bridge by the canal:

8. Three Bridges, London, 24 September 2017

9. Three Bridges, London, 24 September 2017

The last picture is taken from other side of the canal, from Three Bridge Park:

10. Three Bridges, London, 24 September 2017

The bridge is called Windmill Bridge because there was originally a windmill standing on the site.

Photos and text © Katriina Etholén

On the Disused Stations website you can find a great article with many historical pictures of the structure. If you find the structure interesting, then I really do recommend you to check it.

About the bridge on Historic England website.

12 thoughts on “Brunel’s Windmill Bridge in Photos

Add yours

  1. What an interesting place, and what an ingenious piece of civil engineering! I’d never heard of this before, so I’ve just looked at the Disused Stations link. It’s clearly not the easiest thing to photograph unless you have access to the railway track!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I noticed. I don’t know if I was on my own, had I tried to find a way, but as the railway is still in use, I guess it wouldn’t be easy if you didn’t know where to go. But yes, a very interesting structure. And for some reason it is ignored in most Brunel books. At least I didn’t find anything about it in my books.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had no idea that Brunel had built this – thank you! An amazing feat of engineering. I used to see Brunel’s bridge across the Tamar every morning when I woke up for school, because I could see it from by bedroom window – I even walked across it once.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome. I have several Brunel-related books, and there are no mention about this as it’s not one of his “major” works, so to speak, even though this is quite amazing. I visited Plymouth a couple of years ago just to see and photograph the Royal Albert Bridge. Its anniversary was last May, so once again I am late as I will publish a photo story about that bridge (that I photographed from both side) this spring. But better late than never!

      Liked by 1 person

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