Bridge over the ford / at Hardwick - A413

The road between Aylesbury and Buckingham came into being as a turnpike in 1839. Plans and elevations had been submitted in 1836, including one scheme that was rejected, for a bridge over the ford. The original bridge was constructed from carboniferous stone grit, fairly unusual as the nearest source of this material was in the Midlands. Stone was probably brought down to Linslade by canal barge, thence by horse and cart through Wing and Cublington to Hardwick.

Many changes have taken place to that original construction over the years, which, apart from the arch underneath, is buried under many cubic yards of concrete.

According to correspondence between Bucks CC and the Ministry of Transport during the second world war a Dad’s Army type incident occurred at the bridge.

On the 24th June 1944, at approximately 4pm, the east parapet of the bridge was demolished by a tank carrier conveying a bulldozer from the Signal Section at Creslow to Bishops Stortford. The vehicle did not stop after the impact and left the carriageway littered with blocks of stone.

From witnesses to the accident it was established that the vehicle came from 867 Coy ME Royal Engineers, Thornton Road, Balham. Among the witnesses who came forward and provided statements were Sheila McNeil (age 10) and Betty King (age 16) both from The Cottage, Hardwick. Betty King lived at the same address until her death in ****, her nephew, Patrick resides there at present, it is now known as Corner Cottage and incorporates what was originally the adjoining cottage. A Mr Luxton and Mrs Stockdale were also questioned. Mrs Ivy Robertson licensee of the White Swan at Whitchurch informed the Council that the driver of the transporter and two soldiers had been at the inn from 12.30 to 1.30 that lunchtime.(Nothing much new there then)

A letter from Major Jackson, Commanding Officer of 867 Coy ME Royal Engineers, said that he had placed the driver of the vehicle on a charge, but that the driver had denied any implication of involvement. Some builders of High Wycombe, J Smith and Sons of Walters Ash, Naphill were asked to quote for the repair. After a swift intake of breath no doubt, they said that as matching stone was not available locally, they would have to recover it from the water. This would cost £120. In July 1944, the Ministry of War agreed to meet the cost, and work was put in hand. The final bill in August 1944 from J Smith and Sons was for £98.6s.6d.

The bridge in the 1950’s viewed from the south

The bridge in the 1950’s viewed from the south