Bridge In Newcastle City Centre, Tyne And Wear
Rotating bridge designed by William Armstrong, which opened in 1876.
The Swing Bridge crosses the River Tyne between Newcastle and Gateshead and is the 4th bridge built at this section of the river. The first was built in 120AD by Roman Emporer Hadrian, who was a busy lad in the North of England at this time.
The construction of the bridge as it stands today began in September 1868 and was designed by a Fabulous North favourite, William Armstrong. It opened to road traffic and river traffic in 1876. It was built to expand trade, by opening up the river to larger ships by using hydraulic power to turn the 3,000 tonne central section of the bridge. During it's lifetime, it has opened over 280,000 times.
It is an impressive sight to see it turn and a full rotation of the bridge takes around six minutes. Unfortunately the bridge suffered some fire damage in 2016 and was renovated in 2018. It reopened in 2021 but there were a number of technical issues and the bridge is not currently swinging.
Port of Tyne currently own the bridge and in the past have done tours of the internal workings of the bridge. I was lucky enough to have a peek inside on a Late Shows tour around ten years ago in 2012 and managed to get a few shots of the Machine Room. It was a great insight into how the bridge worked, and all of the machinery was in pristine condition. Hopefully tours will resume again on the near future.
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You can see the bridge from the car park.
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Parking is available on the Quayside in front of the Riverside.
Contributed by Sandra Clemens
I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.
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