Tees Transporter Bridge
The Tees Transporter bridge was inspired in 1872 when Charles Smith, Manager of the Hartlepool Iron Works, submitted a scheme to Middlesbrough Corporation. to cross the River Tees. The scheme was not pursued and following a 1907 Act of Parliament the Bridge was built by Sir William Arrol & Co of Glasgow at a cost of £68,026 6s 8d, between 1910 and 1911, replacing the steam ferry services. The opening ceremony was performed on 17 October 1911 by Prince Arthur of Connaught. The bridge was awarded the Institution of Mechanical Engineers‘ highest honour in December 1993. and in 1985, the historical importance was also recognised by its listing as a Grade II.
It has featured in films and TV programmes including Boys from the Blackstuff, Billy Elliot, and Spender . In the millennium celebrations of 2000, fireworks were fired from its length. The storyline of the third series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, saw the bridge dismantled to be sold to and re-erected in the USA. The local council received calls from people worried that the bridge was really being pulled down, with the BBC adding a disclaimer on the end of the final episode of the series stating that ‘The Transporter Bridge remains in Middlesbrough’.
The Tees Transporter Bridge has an overall length of 851 feet (259 m), leaving a span between the centres of the towers of 590 feet (180 m), the beam of the bridge being carried at a height of 160 feet (49 m) above the road. The bridge is the longest remaining transporter bridge in the world, and is owned by Middlesbrough Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council jointly, but Middlesbrough Council has control of the day-to-day operations and maintenance. In 2011, to mark the Bridge’s centenary, the Tees Transporter Bridge received a £2.6m Heritage Lottery Fund award for improvement and renovation work.
The bridge is also host to an annual vintage bus running day, on this one day per year, usually a Sunday in April, vintage buses take people on free rides around Teesside. . Prior to this a double deck bus had not used the bridge in 30 years.
- The Transporter Bridge was locally often affectionately referred to as ‘The Tranny’.
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