The Welland railway viaduct is a spectacular architectural feature spanning the Welland valley with its 82 arches; this grade II listed building was completed in July 1878 and, according to Wikipedia, is the longest masonry viaduct across a valley in Britain. As we drive from village to village we pass under the viaduct on several occasions – I am drawn to the hand painted
figures at the base of each arch/span, which depict their numerical construction order. I am keen to find out more about the construction of this engineering feat, and specifically about the workers and working conditions.
The Health and Safety section of the Manton to Kettering line helpfully lists all the deaths that occurred during the building of the viaduct. The youngest casualty was just 13 years old. In December 1877 Alfred Hide died at Glaston tunnel whilst attending an engine fire. He had got caught in a cog wheel which drew him into the engine. Other reports include men falling to their deaths either from the scaffolding or into the shaft holes.
Further investigation shows that there was a Zeppelin attack on the viaduct in 1916.
In the village, next to the White Swan pub (which was sadly closed at 1pm on a Sunday), an honesty box was in operation for free range eggs – a bargain price of £1 per half dozen!