Hockley Railway Viaduct

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Reference WMO258713

Address:

Hockley

Winchester

Winchester

England

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Status: On original site
Type: Non freestanding
Location: External
Setting: Attached to a building/structure
Description: Board/Plaque/ Tablet
Materials:
  • Metal Metal (any)
Lettering: Inscribed on a plaque
Conflicts:
  • First World War (1914-1918)
About the memorial: Hockley or Shawford Viaduct as it was variously known was built to carry a single track railway over the River Itchen and surrounding Winchester water meadows. It was designed by the engineer William R Galbraith and built of brick with a concrete core. The Viaduct has 33 arches, is 2,014ft (614m) long and Southampton University Industrial Archaeology Group record the Victoria era structure as the largest brick built structure in the UK and the first of its kind to feature a concrete core. The railway that crossed it opened in 1891 connecting the Didcot Newbury and Southampton Railway's Winchester Chesil station with the London South Western Railway at Shawford Junction on the outskirts of Winchester. It allowed trains to run through from Didcot to Southampton and during the First World War this route provided a vital north-south link for military supplies destined for the Western Front. Troop trains ran over the Viaduct from Winchester to Southampton Docks and ambulance trains ran in the opposite direction to Winchester, Burghclere and Highclere. During the War three large army holding camps were established to the north-east of Winchester. These were at Avington Park, Morn Hill and Winnall Down and by 1918 they accommodated over 350,000 mainly American troops. In 1919 the bodies of American soldiers being returned to the US were also conveyed by train from Winchester to Southampton Docks. British Railways finally closed the Didcot-Southampton line in 1966 and the Viaduct fell into disrepair although it was reopened as a cycleway in 2013 as part of National Cycle Route 23. It is maintain by Sustrans and Winchester City Council. The war memorial plaque recognises the important role played by this railway viaduct during the 1914-1919 Great War and the many military trains that ran over it. Alongside it is an original London and South Western Railway (LSWR) signal base which forms the memorial to the troops of many nations that passed this way.
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This original LSWR signal base is dedicted to the troops who crossed this Viaduct to and from the vast military camp at Avington, home to UK, Australian, Bermudian, Canadian, Indian, Newfoundlander, Nova Scotian, Russian, Serbian and US troops between 1914 and 1918. Donated by the Friends of Hockley Viaduct 2014

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