Viaduct Pond & Bridge - HAMPSTEAD HEATH - 2016***

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Viaduct Pond & Bridge


Situated beneath the Viaduct Bridge and its path through East Heath.

(see the City-Of_London Map to establish its exact whereabouts)

The Viaduct Bridge is situated beneath The viaduct Path. The Viaduct Path is off the Spaniards road, opposite Heath House, and extends through the lower part of The Vale Of Health, through East Heath, round the Hampstead Ponds and out again near the bottom of  East Heath Road, opposite Downshire Road.
The Viaduct was built in the mid C19 (work started 1844 and finished 1847)by Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson, then Lord of the Manor of Hampstead, who planned to build houses on the Heath.

The Viaduct Bridge

Fortunately his plans were thwarted by objectors and, although this was once the site of a large brickfield, it is now a quiet and secluded spot for ducks and coots.
The water is supplied by one of the springs that form the Fleet River before it disappears underground.

Because of Maryon Wilson's exploitation of the Claygate Beds, by brick making, the Sports Field is cut sharply into the escarpment and is an attempt to conceal the damage.

The Viaduct Bridge
The Viaduct Bridge

(The remains of The Brick Works are in the area bordered by the lower end of The Sports Field and Lime Avenue, just to the west of Hampstead No. 3 Pond)

The Viaduct Bridge

Tony Wigg makes some interesting observations about 'cycling' on The Heath...
During the mid 1970's I recall cycling was not permitted on the Heath. It was only during the late 70's early 80's that Hampstead Heath saw designated cycle paths appearing as part of the wider management of the Heath. To my eye the photo, The Cycle Path (first left) shows good evidence that the Viaduct was used for cycling in 1910, so here is my reasoning....

If we look at the
photo "The Viaduct Hampstead Heath Photographed from an Aeroplane" (second left), we can see the same white curved fencing either end of the viaduct. Part of this low white picket fence can also be seen in the "Hampstead Heath "In Winter" 1909 picture (third left).

Today an iron railing has replaced this white fence.

The camera is situated on the North end of the viaduct looking south, the four pillars & 4 side support tops are easier to see once the viaduct has been identified.

Looking at the earlier Viaduct Picture (fourth left) we can see no white fencing thus indicating it to be a later addition. One can just visualise the wayward carefree Edwardian cyclist, oblivious to the steep embankment, the murky Fleet Pond waiting below.

The view ahead is surely a good chance to accelerate and get up some speed....Were these railings prevention or cure? This is the real question."

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