When I’m asked what I do for a living, I’m tempted to cop out and refer to my previous career or give my professional title, which I still consider valid. Then, the inquisitive enquirer will want to know where I work, how I spend my day and, in a moment of awkwardness, I would have […]

For my final post on the theme of the history of British bridges I’m calling on other cultures to help me complete the challenge. In most of my posts bridges have largely been functional structures to aid transportation, but today I’m drawing on their ornamental appeal. Allow me to introduce the zigzag bridge. The zigzag […]

One day in Great Yarmouth the circus came to town. Excited crowds gathered on the banks of the River Bure and on the Yarmouth Suspension Bridge. They were there to watch Arthur the clown sail up the river in a washtub pulled by four geese. (The trick being a tow line underwater attached to a […]

For this post I’m revealing X Roman bridges. Of course these aren’t standing bridges but their supposed remains. Some are pillars sunk into a riverbed, the foundations of abutments or the remains of arches. I – London Bridge was originally Roman, which I covered in an earlier post. II – Chesters bridge (nothing to do […]

It should be no surprise that Ancient and Medieval bridges, even the stone ones, have struggled to stand the test of time. Many bridges have failed or swept away before the advent of the expertise of industrial or civil engineers. But there have been bridges that in the 19th and 20th Century that failed, and […]

Throughout the Roman Empire water was a key resource needed to feed their cities and especially in the hot arid places of the Mediterranean it was not easy to come by. The Roman solution was to transport water, often over vast distances, using conduits: aqueducts. These channels relied on gravity, a slight downward gradient, to […]

The town of Berwick-on-Tweed is situated in the north east tip of England and borders Scotland. Due to its location it had changed hands many times before becoming permanently English in around 1483. The battles between the two nations continued with the market town stuck in the middle until the union of the two kingdoms […]

It would be very remiss of me if I didn’t dedicate today’s letter to Thomas Telford (1757-1834), a Scottish engineer, and perhaps Britain’s greatest civil engineer whose nickname is the “Colossus of Roads”. His architectural and construction plans include canals, harbours and bridges of which there are 120 in Scotland. His origins are very humble. […]

There is a bridge, made of limestone, that connects a prison with an interrogation room. The bridge is enclosed (covered), and is supposedly the last opportunity for a condemned prisoners to see the city of Venice. The bridge, called Ponte dei Sospiri, was built in 1600 and rumoured to be given an English name by […]

Most of my posts have been about bridges over rivers, primarily because the oldest bridges predate modern transport. That all changed with the industrial revolution. The canals arrived first and although they often incorporated sections of existing rivers, canals cut new paths across the country. The local road networks were interrupted by the low lying […]

The Queen has ceremonially opened many bridges. In 1981 she opened the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge which carries the metro between Newcastle and Gateshead. Then the cable staged bridge in 1991, also called the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge; this one crosses the River Thames at Dartford and transport 130000 vehicles a day. Even bridges that […]

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