The Grand Bridge, Blenheim Palace
Listed Status: Grade I
The Grand Bridge was designed by John Vanbrugh and built between the years of 1708-1724. The Bridge was designed to provide a level arrival route connecting the main drive to the Palace and was described as being “a mansion” and a “cool retreat in summer.” Internally, there are at least 30+ spaces, some of which contain fireplaces and plaster on the walls. By 1774, Capability Brown had flooded the valley and submerged the lower rooms of the Bridge.
In spite of its vast scale, there are a number of areas of the Bridge which are showing signs of distress and deterioration. An extensive programme of repairs is required in order to repair the structure, address surface water drainage issues and conserve the masonry to reinstate the architecture of the Bridge.
A full 3D measured survey of the Bridge has recently been carried out which for the first time truly allows us to fully understand the relationships between the 30+ rooms inside the Bridge and get a real sense of the grandeur of the Bridge as originally designed. Further investigations are proposed to discover hidden and submerged areas of the bridge.
An extensive programme of repairs is planned to be carried out the Bridge in the near future, this will coincide with the dredging of the Queen’s Pool lake. The dredging will see the water level of the lake lowered and reveal the submerged stonework for the first time in 250 years.