Iconic gateway to Nottingham celebrates 150th anniversary

It’s seen royal tours, the Olympic torch, survived great floods, and one great frost. This week marks an impressive 150 years since Nottingham’s iconic Trent Bridge was completed.

On 25 July 1871, the bridge opened to the public after three years of construction. In all the time since, the bridge has seen just one major change, when it was widened in 1926.

Now, the grade II listed bridge carries nearly 50,000 vehicle journeys every day, and on the rare occasion a number of sheep, when Honorary Freemen of the City exercise their right to do so (which is not advised!)

The bridge has been party to a number of historic occasions. Thousands lined the bridge in 1977 to see Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip make the crossing during HRH’s Silver Jubilee Tour, and more recently crowds gathered to watch the Olympic Torch Relay enter the city in 2012.

Spanning the border of city and county, both councils are responsible for maintaining the bridge structure.

Councillor Rosemary Healy, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Transport, said: “People often think the bridge is older, as there has been a bridge on the site since around 924AD. In fact the cricket ground actually pre-dates the current structure, and is named after the earlier bridge – a name known around the world among cricket fans.

“Trent Bridge is undoubtedly one of the key gateways to the city. It’s been beautifully preserved and maintained, and is a well-recognised landmark. It provides a stunning backdrop to important events such as the Riverside Festival, and to anyone spending time on Victoria Embankment, while thousands of sports fans have used it for generations to get to and from games at the nearby venues.

“Just last year we carried out essential maintenance to paint all steel and cast-iron part of the bridge, along with some repairs, to keep the bridge in top condition, providing ongoing resistance to corrosion and degradation to the structure, protecting and enhancing the bridge for many more years to come.”

Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Transport and Environment committee said: “Trent Bridge is certainly an iconic local landmark but is equally important as a key economic corridor.  It’s vital that we regularly maintain and look after this important asset so it will last for many more years to come.

“I’d like to pay tribute to the local borough Civil Engineer, Marriot Ogle Tarbotton, who designed the 1871 bridge I’m sure he would be very proud to see us celebrating its 150th anniversary!”

Facts

  • A bridge has existed since 924 during the reign of Edward the Elder. This was an oak superstructure supported by stone piers
  • In 1156, during the reign of Henry II, came a stone, gothic arch style bridge, with 17 arch spans in total. Reconstruction works took place in 1275 and 1374
  • The structure was considerably damaged during the Cromwellian wars, with a great flood adding further damage
  • The bridge as it appears today was constructed over three years, from 1868 to 1871, for the price of £36,000
  • The older structure was demolished when the new bridge was completed
  • Remains of the original bridge are still visible today, in the middle of the traffic island outside County Hall on the south side of the river
  • The flood dates inscribed on the wall under the bridge were transferred over from the original structure – which is why some pre-date the construction
  • The bridge was widened in 1926 to allow the six lane capacity that exists today
  • In 1972 Trent Bridge was designated a grade II listed building, reflecting the national significance of its special historic and architectural interest
  • Currently around 48,900 journeys made on average over the bridge by bus or car each day
  • In November 2002, the Nottingham Princess pleasure cruiser crashed into the bridge during high water levels
  • In 2010, a number of Honorary Freemen of the City of Nottingham exercised their right to march sheep over Trent Bridge
  • Trent Bridge cricket ground actually pre-dates the current Trent Bridge, having been established in 1841 and named after the earlier structure

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