A Short Account of the Methods made use of in Laying the Foundation of the Piers of Westminster-Bridge. With an answer to the chief objections that have been made thereto… To which are annex’d, the plans, elevations and sections belonging to a design of a stone-bridge… with an Explanation of that Design.
Science. Engineering. Bridges.1739
8vo, 2 leaves, pp. vi, 82. Woodcut headpiece and initials. Modern quarter morocco.
FIRST EDITION. Westminster Bridge was the first major bridge to be built over an English river for more than a century, and was also only the second masonry bridge over the Thames. The controversial choice as the architect was the Swiss engineer Charles Lebelye, who employed a novel method of founding the piers; they were built inside timber caissons which had been towed out and sunk onto excavations prepared for them in the bed of the river. Once the masonry was laid the timber sides were removed, leaving a flat base for the pier. This system had never been used before in this country and nowhere before on such a large scale, and much of Labelye’s book is given over to describing it. The book appeared a year after the start of construction. The plan mentioned on the title-page was published later and separately, and is given a separate number by Skempton. Skempton 812.
Unsure of some of these terms? Click here to download a copy of Carter & Barker, ABC for Book Collectors (2006), which has full explanations.