On this day in history : 10th October 1928 – The Tyne Bridge, linking Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Gateshead in North East England, is opened by King George V….

Out of the seven bridges, that cross the River Tyne in the area that is known as the ‘NewcastleGateshead Quayside’, the Tyne Bridge is the most recognisable and iconic….

The bridge was designed by engineering firm Mott, Hay and Anderson and building contractors Dorman Long began work on it in August 1925…. Dorman Long included in its team the first female member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Dorothy Buchanan…. She was to go on to also be involved with the construction of Lambeth Bridge in London and the Sydney Harbour Bridge….

The bridge’s Cornish granite towers (also known as the pylons) were designed by Robert Burns Dick, a local architect – and were originally intended to be used as warehousing space over five storeys…. However, work inside them was not completed and so they have never been used for this purpose…. Lifts for passengers and goods were also installed but are no longer in use…. The towers are annually opened to the public as part of Heritage Open Days (which take place in September)….

The South Tower

At the time of its construction the Tyne Bridge was the World’s longest single span bridge with the largest steel arch…. The bridge’s length totals 1,276ft (389m), with an arch span of 531ft (161.8m) – it has a height of 194ft (59m) and a width of 56ft (17.8m)…. Some 777,124 rivets hold it all together….

The bridge was painted in a special green paint manufactured by J.Dampney, Tonbridge, Tingate Co. of Gateshead and work was finally completed on the 25th of February 1928…. During construction there was one fatality, that of a scaffolder from South Shields by the name of Nathaniel Collins….

The Tyne Bridge was officially opened on the 10th of October 1928 by King George V and Queen Mary – who travelled across it in their Ascot Landau carriage, making them the first ever to use the roadway…. 20,000 schoolchildren attended the ceremony and the speech given by the King was recorded by Movietone News….

The Tyne Bridge has become part of the region’s culture…. Each year 52,000 runners cross it as part of the Great North Run…. In 2012 giant Olympic Rings were erected on the bridge for Newcastle’s hosting of the Olympic football tournament – and also for the Olympic torch relay which saw Bear Grylls zip-wire his way down from the top of the arch to Gateshead quayside…. The bridge features as a prominent part of many celebrations and events held in Newcastle and the surrounding areas…. In August 2018 it was made Grade II listed by Historic England and in June 2022 it was announced the bridge would be refurbished involving improvements to the structure and a full repaint….

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