Bideford - Bridge and River Torridge


Bideford - Bridge and River Torridge Bideford - Bridge and River Torridge
Added by Bart Perdieus
General Description The original Long Bridge spanning the River Torridge and connecting the East and West of the town was said to have been built out of timber in the year 1286. In 1474 the original structure was replaced by the masonry arch bridge seen today. The bridge was built around the timber so people could still use it while construction was taking place. It has 24 arches all of different sizes. The traditional explanation is that each arch was funded by a different local guild, although there are no records to confirm this. Another theory is that the piers of the arches of the bridge were built on naturally existing and therefore randomly situated large stones in the river. During the first decade of the 17th century, the bridge trustees were taken to court by the people of Bideford for feasting and seeing plays with the trust funds. The people won the court case although it is unclear whether the trustees were forced to resign after the scandal or what happened to them. In 1790 the bridge was the largest in Devon. In the 1820s there was talk of converting the bridge so that it could be raised and lowered to allow larger boats and ships to pass under it. A former New Year's Eve tradition was to try to run across the Long Bridge during the time taken for the bells of St. Mary's parish church to chime midnight. In 1886 a Ship called 'Edward Birkbeck' launched from a Bideford shipyard hit the bridge, but only caused small damage by knocking some of the stones out. In 1925 another incident took place on the bridge, during the widening of the bridge a lorry came off the side of the bridge and crashed into the River Torridge, it is believed that both the people in the lorry survived. During World War Two the 10th arch of the bridge was being repaired, the police asked for ladders and scaffolding to be removed from the bridge to prevent potential invaders climbing up and capturing the bridge, during the war the home guard patrolled the bridge. The Bideford Bridge Trust held responsibility for the long bridge right up until the year 1968 when one of the arches of the bridge collapsed. The Department of Transport then took on the bridge. During the rebuilding of that part of the bridge a crane toppled over on the bridge and a man was killed. An inspection by Devon County Council in July 2007 revealed problems with the bridge's concrete and structure, in September 2008, work began on putting in the cathodic protection system which restored the bridge for another 60 years. A sight which many holiday makers and locals enjoy is seeing the Starlings at dusk, as they roost underneath the bridge.
Height 90.00 mm
Width 140.00 mm
Catalog prices No catalog prices set yet

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