The Swing Bridge

From Bridges on the Tyne:

The Swing Bridge has always been one of the most interesting bridges on the Tyne, as until the Gateshead Millennium Bridge came along, it was the only one that moved. Opened in 1876, it was necessary to replace the old Georgian Bridge in almost the same location which was low level and prevented larger vessels from moving up river or above bridge as it was called. This meant that keels were needed to transport coal from the riverbank staiths at Dunston, Derwenthaugh and beyond to the ships further down river, an inefficient and time-consuming process. Armstrongs factories at Elswick were held back due to the impossibility of ships reaching there.

7 Comments CherryPie on Apr 6th 2013

7 Responses to “The Swing Bridge”

  1. JD says:

    =Armstrongs factories at Elswick were held back due to the impossibility of ships reaching there.=

    …which is why William Armstrong designed and built the bridge :)

    btw Cherie, when you were writing your piece about Cragside, did you know that the National Trust are restoring (or recreating?) the hydro-electric power for the house?

  2. JD says:

    oops :)
    forgot to link this bit of extra backgtound information

    • CherryPie says:

      Althought my article started out about Cragside, on balance the article turned out to be more about William Armstrong, it did briefly mention the bridge. I probably should have sent you the article to proof read (for accuracy) before I sent it off ;-)

      I didn’t know that the National Trust were recreating the hydro-electric power for the house. What an interesting project :-)

      Thanks for the additional information. I have the book that is mentioned on that site, it is on the table beside me now. I really must get around to finishing reading it. I have far too many books on the go ;-)

  3. It looks very interesting.

  4. J_on_tour says:

    The Swing Bridge is a classic structure and my favourite of all the bridges across the Tyne. Built roughly near the site of the original bridge over the river, Armstrong was a clever man with an eye for his business a little further upstream as JD says. I have been privileged to have had a tour on Heritage Open Doors weekend up into the tower and two rooms downstairs either side of the road.
    It is managed by The Port of Tyne authority and is generally un manned. The bridge is now treated like an old lady as it is a historic structure and opens once a week at 12 noon on a sunday. This co-incides with the tourist boat trip on the River Tyne, one of which goes upstream and the other tours the other bridges with a glimpse of Dunston Staithes before heading downstream to North Shields. I can’t for the life of me work out where you took this photo from as it is too low for the High Level Bridge and you managed to get Neptune in on top of the old Fish Market. On a side note … I once bought coffee for two last year in the Hilton Hotel behind and didn’t get much change back from a £10 note !

    • CherryPie says:

      It must have been a fascinating experience to tour the bridge tower. Thank you for the additional background on the bridge.

      The photo was taken from below the Hotel Vermont car park. Not the one right in front of the hotel, but the small one to the side and below the hotel. I walked down the steps next to that car park until I came to this viewpoint. It is obviously a night time haunt for the youths. The place where I stood to take the photo was littered with beer cans and covered with graffiti. The information board was obliterated with paint daubs…