Chalfont Viaduct

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Chalfont Viaduct
Give Peas A Chance - - 1723109.jpg
Chalfont Viaduct seen from the M25 (in 2009)
CoordinatesLua error in Module:Coordinates at line 492: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
OS grid referenceTQ 01633 88067
CarriesChiltern Main Line
CrossesM25 Motorway
LocaleGerrards Cross
Official nameChalfont No. 1 Viaduct
Other name(s)Misbourne Viaduct
Named forThe Chalfonts (Chalfont St Giles, Chalfont St Peter, Little Chalfont)
OwnerNetwork Rail
MaterialBlue/black engineering brick
Total length104 metres (114 yd)
Height12.5 metres (41 ft)
No. of spans5, each 15.5 metres (51 ft) wide
Rail characteristics
No. of tracks2
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
DesignerJames Charles Inglis, R.C. Sikes
Construction start1902
Construction end1906
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The Chalfont Viaduct (also known as the Misbourne Viaduct) is the first of two five-arch brick railway viaducts on the Chiltern Main Line in south-east England. It is located between Gerrards Cross and Denham Golf Club stations. The M25 motorway passes beneath it between junctions 16 and 17 at Gerrards Cross near Chalfont St Peter, from where the bridge gets its name. The bridge is known as Chalfont No. 1 Viaduct; the longer Chalfont No. 2 Viaduct is a short distance to the west and spans the A413.[1]

The bridge is noted as a local landmark because for more than 20 years it bore a graffiti slogan, "give peas a chance" painted in large white letters on the south-facing parapet.[2][3]


The River Misbourne diverted via culverts under the M25

The Chalfont Viaduct is built of blue and black engineering brick with additional decorative brickwork. The bridge is approximately 12.5 metres (41 ft) high, although it varies in height due to changing ground level, and it has five semi-elliptical arches, each 15.5 metres (51 ft) wide. It was constructed between 1902 and 1906 by the Great Western Railway (GWR) to carry trains on the Great Western and Great Central Joint Railway between London and High Wycombe across the River Misbourne.[4][5] It was designed by James Charles Inglis, chief civil engineer of the GWR, and assistant engineer Robert Cherry Sikes.[6]

In the mid-1980s the construction of the M25 motorway required the Misbourne to be diverted via underground concrete culverts. The route of the motorway was aligned to pass through the arches of the Chalfont Viaduct, leaving the viaduct largely unaltered apart from the raised ground level and the addition of concrete supports and crash barriers. The viaduct is the only brick-built bridge on this section of the M25.[5]


The new "give helch a break!!!" graffiti slogan added in 2018

For many years the Chalfont Viaduct bore a graffiti slogan, "give peas a chance" painted in large white letters on the south-facing parapet, visible to M25 drivers heading in a clockwise direction. The north side of the bridge bears the painted legend "peas06".[2]

Originally, the graffiti on the south parapet simply read "peas". It is thought that "Peas" was the tag of a London graffiti artist which can be seen on other locations. The words "give" and "a chance" were added later. The altered slogan may refer to the artist being repeatedly arrested, and it may also be a play on words in reference to John Lennon's popular 1969 song, "Give Peace a Chance".[7][4][8]

The graffiti became a popular local landmark and was regarded affectionately by motorists and residents in nearby settlements as a reassuring location marker. In 2018, when the graffiti was partially removed and repainted by an unknown artist to read "give helch a break!!!", it prompted media commentary.[9][10] It has been speculated that the new graffiti may be related to similar slogans being painted on buildings in the London borough of Harrow.,[11] and several other bridges along the M25 and M1 motorways all following the similar, heavily serif-ed style/typeface. The reception towards this modification was largely negative, to the point that a petition to Network Rail to reinstate the previous slogan and make the bridge a listed building was produced, and received over 2,000 signatures.[12]

Thank You NHS Graffiti that appeared in March 2020.

In March 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, an unknown artist replaced the graffiti with one reading "thank you NHS".[13]

The north side of the bridge, visible to drivers going in an anticlockwise direction has graffiti from Extinction Rebellion.[14][better source needed]. As of August 2021, an additional message has been added to the north side, reading "it's coming home 2022", in reference to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[citation needed]

Since September 2021 the graffiti on the north side has been cleaned off. The south side now reads ‘HELTA SKELTA’.

See also



  1. Maggs 2010, p. 34.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Winterman, Tom de Castella and Denise (25 May 2011). "Campaigning by graffiti". BBC News. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  3. "Calls for M25 'give peas a chance' return". BBC News. 21 September 2018. Archived from the original on 21 September 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hamilton 2015, p. 59.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kelly 2009, p. 1.
  6. Kelly 2009, pp. 2–3.
  7. Kelly 2009, p. 5.
  8. "The 'Give Peas a Chance' Bridge". Atlas Obscura. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  9. Clifton, Katy (20 September 2018). "Motorists devastated as iconic 'Give Peas a Chance' graffiti is erased". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  10. "'Give peas a chance' M25 graffiti removed". BBC News. 18 September 2018. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  11. "Why HELCH is appearing in giant letters on Harrow buildings". MyLondon. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  12. "Petition calls for M25 'give peas a chance' graffiti return". BBC News. 21 September 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  13. "Coronavirus: M25 graffiti replaced with NHS thank you". BBC News. 30 March 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  14.,+Gerrards+Cross+SL9+7AW,+United+Kingdom/@51.5823347,-0.5348914,16z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x48766f3b7f09a1f3:0xc8d6fe8b18f5c345[bare URL]


External links