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21 September 2014
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THE TYNE BRIDGE - ICON OF AN INDUSTRIAL AGE
The Tyne bridge The Tyne Bridge is one of Newcastle's most popular icons and a symbol of Tyneside's industrial pride. We take a look at the building of this modern architectural masterpiece.


The earliest bridge across the Tyne was built by the Romans, Pons Aelius, near the location of the present Tyne Bridge.

After it fell into disrepair, a stone bridge was built in 1270 but this was destroyed by the great flood of 1771.

Workers on the Tyne bridge
Workers on the Tyne Bridge weather the heights

The idea for the Tyne Bridge goes back to 1883 but it wasn't until 1924 that the plan to build this major river crossing finally got the thumbs up.

Work started in August 1925 with Dorman Long of Middlesbrough acting as the building contractors.

Men risked their lives high above the waters of the Tyne, scaling heights and structures with the agility of Spiderman.

Despite the dangers of the building work, only one worker died in the building of this amazing structure.

When complete, the Tyne Bridge was celebrated as one of the modern miracles of its age.

Coals from Newcastle?

The Tyne Bridge was designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson who based their design on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which in turn derived its design from the Hell Gate Bridge in New York.

The tyne bridge under construction
The arches of the Tyne Bridge take shape in 1928

The bridge was completed and opened in 1928 by King George V and the Queen who were the first to use the roadway travelling in their Ascot landau.

It's long been thought that the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia was based on the Tyne Bridge . This is not the case.

Work started on the Sydney Bridge before building began on the Tyne Bridge. The confusion arises because the Sydney Harbour Bridge took longer to complete due to its larger size.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge finally opened in 1932, three years after the Tyne Bridge.

The Tyne Bridge's towers were built of Cornish granite and were designed as warehouses with five storeys.

Passenger and goods lifts were built in the towers to provide access to the Quayside. These are still in use today.

Design on Tyne

The royal couple arrive for the bridge opening
The royal couple open the Tyne Bridge in 1928

The bridge was originally painted green with special paint made by J. Dampney Co. of Gateshead.

The same colours were used to paint the bridge for its Millennium year.

But not all of the original plans were put into place.

The inner floors of the warehouses in the bridge's towers were never completed and, as a result, the storage areas were never used.

Today the bridge is renowned around the world, and rivals its counterpart - the Sydney Harbour Bridge - as one of the great bridges of the world.

Watch our film footage of the bridge at the various stages of its construction.

See the hair-raising feats of the workers who build the colossal structure. Finally, be there for the opening ceremony with the crowds on Newcastle's Quayside.

Tyne Bridge Facts:

It cost £1,200,000 to build.

The road deck is 84 feet above the water.

The bridge has a 531 feet span.

Several Buildings had to be demolished to make way for the bridge - they included the Goat Inn, the Earl of Durham, the Ridley Arms, the Steamboat Inn, Ray's lodging house, a powder mill, a pickle factory and a bank.

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