The Navvies

Saturday, 15th October 2005


Navvies, Addingford, HorburyThis afternoon I lead another geological walk around Horbury starting at St Peter's church (built of local, prominently cross-bedded sandstone) and ending up at Horbury Quarry, our local RIGS site (Regionally Important Geological Site). In between we go down Addingford Steps to take a look at the railway cutting, one of Horbury's largest landscape features which is surprisingly well hidden away from most angles. You could stand in the Bull's Head car park, right next to it, and not realise that there was a gaping canyon within 50 yards of you.

These navvies appear to be repairing the line through the cutting at some time prior to it being upgraded from 2 lines to 4 lines, which I believe was in the early years of the 20th century. The bridge evidently isn't brand new, as it is already blackened by smoke from passing engines.

Addingford Cutting

Addingford Steps

Kathryn Goulding, a contemporary of mine at the local school, who came along on the walk this afternoon, e-mailed me these old photographs. Today the Addingford Steps (left) come down to the level of the lane on the bottom left of the photograph and what was once a tunnel, running beneath the man leaning on the fence in the foreground, is now a brick-built bridge over the railway cutting.

The photograph must date from before World War I because conversion of tunnel to cutting took place at around that time.

Victorian railway construction workers were called navvies because their predecessors cut the canals and navigations in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Next Page

Richard Bell,