Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Photo of the Little Ayton bridge over the River Leven.

Quiz time: what links this photo to the Yangon-Mandalay railway in Myanmar?

Myanmar was once a province of British India which, from 1824 to 1948, and was known as British Burma1Wikipedia Contributors. 2022. ‘British Rule in Burma’, Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_rule_in_Burma> [accessed 29 November 2022].

The British first introduced a railway to Lower Burma in 1877 connecting Rangoon (Yangon) to Prome (Pyay) — 161 miles long2Wikipedia Contributors. 2022. ‘Rail Transport in Myanmar’, Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_transport_in_Myanmar#History> [accessed 29 November 2022]. Subsequent developments included, in 1884, a 166 mile line along the Sittaung River from Yangon to the town of Toungoo (Taungoo) via Pegu (Bago). The following year, a three-week long Third Anglo-Burmese War resulted in the annexation of Upper Burma3Wikipedia Contributors. 2022. ‘Third Anglo-Burmese War’, Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Anglo-Burmese_War> [accessed 29 November 2022]. This in turn meant that the Toungoo railway could be extended to Mandalay in 1889.

The Yangon to Mandalay railway is still going strong today.

But what’s all this have to do with the River Leven in Little Ayton?

Bridge 31 on the Yangon-Mandalay railway.

Well, of the many bridges on that railway, the steelwork of at least one bridge, No. 31, was forged by the Stockton Forge Co. “of Stockton-on-Tees, producer of castings, forgings, and bridge building4‘Stockton Forge Co – Graces Guide’. 2019. Gracesguide.co.uk <https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Stockton_Forge_Co> [accessed 29 November 2022]. The year on a plaque on that bridge gives a date of 1882.

The wealth of the British Empire trickling back to the smallest towns and villages of Britain.

And our bridge over the River Leven at Little Ayton, replacing a ford, was made by the same company in 18905‘At Langbaurgh West Highway Board on…’ | Northern Echo | Monday 16 June 1890 | British Newspaper Archive’. 2022. Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk <https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000087/18900616/010/0003> [accessed 29 November 2022]. The cost of the steelwork for our bridge was £240 with T. Clarkson of Stokesley, gaining the masonry work for £146 10s.

In 1897, the Stockton Forge Co. was acquired by Head, Wrightson and Co.6‘Stockton Forge Co – Graces Guide’. 2019. Gracesguide.co.uk <https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Stockton_Forge_Co> [accessed 29 November 2022]

One thing that does surprise me, coming from a construction background, is the speed of the tendering process. Invitations to tender went out around the 30 May 18907‘TO STONEMASONS, ENGINEERS, IRONFOUNDERS, AND OTHERS.’ | York Herald | Friday 30 May 1890 | British Newspaper Archive.” Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk, 2022, https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000500/18900530/002/0001. [Accessed 23 November 2022].. Tenders were returned on Thursday, 12th June and by Monday 16th, the successful contractors were being reported in the newspapers.


2 responses to “Quiz time: what links this photo to the Yangon-Mandalay railway in Myanmar?”

  1. Nicola Chalton avatar
    Nicola Chalton

    great detective work!

    1. Fhithich avatar


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