The Tyne Bridge is a through arch bridge over the River Tyne in North East England, linking Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead. It was designed by the engineering firm Mott, Hay and Anderson, who later designed the Forth Road Bridge, and was built by Dorman Long and Co. of Middlesbrough. It was officially opened on 10 October 1928 by King George V and has since become a defining symbol of Tyneside. The Tyne Bridge is a landmark within Newcastle and currently stands as the tenth tallest structure in the city.

History of construction
The earliest bridge across the Tyne, Pons Aelius, was built by the Romans near the location of the present Tyne Bridge. Built around 122, it fell into disrepair, and a stone bridge was built in 1270. This was in turn destroyed by the great flood of 1771. In 1781, a new stone bridge across the Tyne was completed. Increased shipping activity led to the stone bridge being removed in 1866 to make way for construction of the present Swing Bridge, which opened in 1876. The idea for a bridge at the location of the present Tyne Bridge dates back to 1864, due to concern about the cost of tolls on the High Level Bridge - although the first serious discussions took place in 1883. Committees met over the next three decades, but it wasn't until the early 1920s that proposals were commenced in earnest, boosted by the chance to secure central government funding. On 29 April 1924, Newcastle and Gateshead approved the plans, and the Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead (Corporations) Bridge Act was passed on 7 August that year, with an estimated cost of £1 million including land acquisitions. The final cost on completion was £1.2 million. Work started in August 1925 with Dorman Long acting as the building contractors. Despite the dangers of the building work, only one worker (Charles Tosh) died in the building of this structure. The Tyne Bridge was designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson who based their design on the Hell Gate Bridge in New York (which was completed in 1916) and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which was designed in 1916 with construction commencing in 1923. The bridge was completed on 25 February 1928 and opened on 10 October by King George V and Queen Mary, who were the first to use the roadway travelling in their Ascot landau. The Tyne Bridge's towers were built of Cornish granite and were designed as warehouses with five storeys. However, the inner floors of the warehouses in the bridge's towers were not completed and, as a result, the storage areas were never used. Lifts for passengers and goods were built in the towers to provide access to the Quayside although they are no longer in use. 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 in 2000. The bridge spans 531 feet (162 m) and the road deck is 84 feet (26 m) above the river level.

History of operations
Tram lines were built into the Tyne Bridge structure and ready for immediate use after the opening ceremony in October 1928. Tram car No. 289 was the last Newcastle tram to run into Gateshead over the Tyne Bridge on Sunday 5 March 1950 at approximately 10.55 pm. The tram lines were subsequently removed, although some vestiges of these remain such as redundant fixings for overhead power lines. Golden jubilee celebrations were held on 10 October 1978, when one thousand balloons were released into the sky above the Tyne to celebrate the anniversary of the Tyne Bridge. To mark the occasion a cavalcade of vintage vehicles and a procession of people in period dress stopped traffic, re-creating the opening ceremony when King George V declared the bridge open in 1928. Upon opening, the bridge carried the A1 road. Following the opening of the Tyne Tunnel in 1967 however, the A1 was diverted to the East and the road became the A6127. Following the construction of the Newcastle Western Bypass, the A1 moved again and the bridge was redesignated as the A167 which it remains today.

Technical Info Total length (includes approaches) 389 metres Length of main arch span (pier to pier) 161.8 metres Rise of arch (above pins) 55 metres Clear height (above high water level) 26 metres Total height (above high water level) 59 metres Width (bridge) 17.08 metres Width (approaches) 24 metres Total weight of steelwork (arch only) 3,556 tonnes Total weight of steelwork (including approaches) 7,112 tonnes Total number of rivets (including approaches) 777,124


6 photos

Building Activity

  • removed 2 media and updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via
  • updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via Annotator