Friday, 7 March 2008

Suspending Belief

I am currently being kept out of trouble by photographing and writing a book on engineering-reliant structures in Britain, for a firm of civil (very civil, as it happens) engineers to celebrate a milestone anniversary. Here's 'one I made earlier' of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge. Made famous by appearances in Billy Elliot and Auf Weidersen Pet, it is so defining of Middlesbrough that it's also on the council badge. In 1911 a bridge was required here that gave access to Port Clarence and yet still gave headroom for tall-masted ships. The solution was to suspend a gondola from a 160 feet high gantry by what are known as trolley wires, in order that this strange craft could ply (as it still does) across the River Tees with foot passengers and up to nine cars. I was fortunate enough to be taken up to the top, a hair-raising ascent that was like going up into the clouds through a gargantuan Meccano model. I just hoped that the nuts and bolts were better secured than those of my unfortunate boyhood attempt to build something similar on my dining room table. Certainly the Middlesbrough bridge's endurance record is more impressive, having survived raids from both Zeppelins and the Luftwaffe.

12 comments:

Diplomat said...

FANTASTIC picture, and I'm so glad they decided to paint it that lovely blue.

Peter Ashley said...

It's a funny thing (well, not that funny)but you only appreciate the colour close up. At a distance it just looks dark grey because of the web of cross braces. But blue is coming back. The original ironwork at the new St.Pancras station is now in pale blue, the second colour it was painted in the nineteenth century.

A F-A said...

What a tremendous photo! In another picture, you caught a little blackbird...in this one, there is that superb little fishing boat with a crewman(?)nearby. I so wish I could take picures like this!

Tom Harris said...

On closer examination it's all going a bit rusty. Need to get those Forth Roaders along on a busman's holiday.

Tom Harris said...

On closer examination it's all going a bit rusty. Need to get those Forth Roaders along on a busman's holiday.

Tom Harris said...

sorry-still learning

Peter Ashley said...

Hmm. Forth Bridge. I've been to the top of that too, with a certificate to say I did. Now, where is it...

Diplomat said...

Next please ...........

Peter Ashley said...

You wait your hurry Diplo. It's Saturday, and therefore CULPIN'S PORK PIE DAY. Might treat myself to a sheep leg too.

Justin Savage said...

Go! Sheep leg, go! What a bridge, what a post, what a lunch.

simon_clarke said...

Zeppelins being also in the luftwaffe (or, translated, 'air force'). But of course officially known as the "Luftstreitkräfte". Just thought you should know...

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou Albert Speer.