DescriptionThe railway from Reading to Redhill came to Wokingham in 1849 and the level crossing by the station has been with us ever since.
Following two accidents at the level crossing in 1886, including a young girl knocked down by a goods train (recorded in a letter to the Times in May of that year by a Mr. Thomas Cookel), the authorities set aside a sum of money for a footbridge to be built between the station and the crossing from Station Road to Barkham Road. It was constructed late in 1886 by enterprising navies putting an old stock of rails and sleepers to good use.
The railway then was the South Eastern Railway (SER), becoming the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Company in 1898. A number of such designs were built at that time but few, if any, survive and is therefore possibly unique to Wokingham. The bridge is grade II listed, originally made from double headed rails, with sleepers for the steps. Some sleepers and rails were replaced in the 1980s (in the latter case by bull-head rails) during BR maintenance.
The footbridge, a braced bowstring supported on piers is independent of the station. The arch of the bowstring girders continue down to ground level. It is a Wokingham landmark and regarded as one of the foremost examples of innovative industrial archaeology remaining in the town. Because of its contribution to Wokingham’s heritage, the Railway Footbridge is part of the Wokingham Society’s Blue Plaque Trail. A leaflet giving details of all of the buildings on the Trail can be obtained from the Wokingham Town Hall Information Centre and Wokingham Library. An electronic version is available from www.wokinghamsociety.org.uk The Trail is also available on a downloadable App called Wokingham Town History.
SourceBlue Plaque Trail, The Wokingham Society
Britain In Old Photographs - Wokingham by Bob Wyatt
“Railway Footbridge,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed June 21, 2021, https://www.wokingham-tc.gov.uk/museum/document/WTH0306.