A History of England in Six Bridges

England, history

This post title is completely misleading. I’m showing you six bridges, it’s true. But only one pre-dates the eighteenth century. Only one is neither in Yorkshire or London. But there’s a footbridge, a canal bridge, a railway bridge, a transporter bridge, a road-bridge which opens, and one for the Millennium, so maybe we’re covering quite a lot of bases.

This first two are really quite small. Here’s a fifteenth century bridge, leading over the moat to Eltham Palace. Then here’s one of the bridges over Ripon Canal, opened in 1773. This canal may be the shortest in England – it’s only 2.3 miles long.

Knaresborough Viaduct is a railway bridge which spans the river Nidd in truly majestic fashion. I bet I’d have been a NIMBY protesting against such a huge change planned for the view of my town if I’d lived in Knaresborough back in the 1850s. Now I’d be joining the demonstrations if anyone suggested dismantling it.

This Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough is quite a thing. You can read all about it here.

1910

Last of all – my favourite: the world’s first and only tilting bridge – Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

The header photo shows what may be England’s most famous bridge: Tower Bridge, opening and closing for London’s shipping since 1886.

For Cee’s CFFC: Bridges

… and Alive and Trecking’s Which Way Photo Challenge.

66 thoughts on “A History of England in Six Bridges

  1. Great set, Margaret, and I’ve only been over one, knowingly. Went toGateshead mumble mumble years ago, but that new bridge hadn’t been even thought of then. And you are contrary, one minute a NIMBY, and next minute up in arms at the destruction!!

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  2. I love the serenity of the one at Eltham Palace. That’s a lovely shot, and I’ve never been there. The others are, of course, totally familiar and I love them all, Margaret.

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    1. Eltham Palace is a serene place to spend an afternoon, and only a couple of train stops from my London family’s London home. So somewhere to add to the list when you’re in London? Meanwhile, have a good weekend!

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      1. Highly unlikely I’ll be in London any time soon, Margaret, though my daughter was there for a Secret Cinema and the Faberge exhibition at the V&A just last week. I’ll keep it in mind. And the weekend got off to the perfect start with a sunny walk in the salinas and a wonderful lunch with friends. Thanks darlin! Hope you’re enjoying being out and about again. 🤗💟

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  3. I have a thing about bridges, but I haven’t seen any of these. The transporter one is fascinating. I got quite obsessed by the covered bridges in New England.

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    1. Come on Jude, you’ve seen Tower Bridge. Yes, I want to go on the Transporter Bridge one day. But I don’t know anything about the New England covered bridges.

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      1. Fascinating stuff – thanks for taking me to that post. I haven’t got particularly close to Tower Bridge very often. It’s Debbie who’s been ‘under the bonnet’, and interesting it looks too.

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  4. Impressive collection. Two of these were new to me. In all my travels I had never encountered a tilting bridge or a “transporter” bridge. Thank you for the charming learning experience.

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  5. A wonderful collection of bridges, Margaret. Bridges have always been a symbol of connection between transitions and a place to see both sides of any situation. Whenever I have a decision to make, I imagine that I am on a bridge. Next decision – I will visualize myself on one of the six bridges that are in this post. Many thanks.

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  6. I’ve always enjoyed bridges and you’ve got an excellent collection. The Transporter Bridge is perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing as the rest. At the moment, I go home from work by river bus so I get the “Tower Bridge at night” view on a regular basis. Never tire of it…

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  7. Um… I don’t think its the “first and only” tilting bridge. There’s a tilting bridge in Jerusalem by Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava who has done a whole bunch of off-kilter bridges and buildings all over the world.

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  8. Dear Margaret
    Bridges are really symbolic. It’s a great idea to show the history of bridges. In some way they reflect the history of the country as well.
    Thanks and cheers
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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    1. Yes, they’re astonishingly varied, aren’t they? I could have shown so many more. And you’re right – they often have very local characteristics. Have a wonderful end-of-weekend.

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  9. Fabulous set of photos. I can’t see the Eltham Palace bridge without thinking of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and the entire Court (except the Queen!) all clattering across. I love the photogenic raven in the Knaresborough shot – posing especially for you??

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  10. Beautiful bridges. This is the first time I’ve seen the Millennium Bridge – gorgeous! Funny that you apologized for *only* 500 years of bridges. We’d be boasting if we had one that ancient. ; )

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    1. Of course! We tend to forget, When Americans visit Fountains Abbey, where I volunteer, they have trouble, quite understandably, getting their heads round the fact that the site was first occupied in 1132.

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  11. What a brilliant post! Excellent photos and such interesting bridges, and most so aesthetically pleasing too. I particularly like the serenity of the Ripon Canal photo and I also like the complexity of the Knaresborough Viaduct photo especially with the raven in the foreground. I hope you are feeling recovered from Covid?

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