20 June 2017

Transporter

We went to Hartlepool last week. This meant crossing The River Tees in Middlesbrough. Rather than travelling on the A19 over a modern road bridge, I decided we would cross the river on the town's famous Transporter Bridge. It opened in 1911 and there are very few bridges like it anywhere in the world. It is certainly the only one of its kind in Great Britain.
Essentially there's a very tall iron structure over the river. It was so high that any masted boat could easily pass under it. Slung from this structure was a gondola or cradle upon which a few vehicles at a time could be carried. The gondola was suspended on wires from a series of rollers that were designed to carry it to the opposite bank.

The bridge still works fine a hundred and six years after its construction. At 1pm last Friday "Clint" was the very first vehicle aboard. The ticket cost £1.30 and in less than five minutes we were on the other side. We had left NorthYorkshire and now we were in County Durham tootling northwards to Hartlepool, home of the monkey hangers.

On the way we passed the Brent Delta oil platform which spent forty years pumping oil from the bottom of The North Sea. Now it is being dismantled having reached the end of its serviceable life.

32 comments:

  1. How incredible a structure it is.

    I hope it keeps on working, too. I'd hate to be caught up on it if it ever had a problem. I imagine the maintenance on the structure is very strict and of high quality.

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    1. I hope you are right about the maintenance Lee! It was a very smooth ride.

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  2. It looks a tad scary, I'm not sure I would enjoy the ride.

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    1. It is certainly a bit different from other bridges. You can even walk across the very top beam. Now that would be scary.

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  3. That is a much more interesting way to get across the river! Was it smooth or bumpy to ride in/on?

    Why would anyone want to hang a monkey?

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    1. They thought the monkey was a French spy! At least that's what local legend says.

      The ride was lovely and smooth.

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  4. What an interesting way to travel. You know YP you could organise walks and tours...they would all be so fascinating.

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    1. I would take my coach parties to a certain house in The Midlands to show them how ordinary English people live. "This is The Mister's pipe and these are his slippers. And this is Libby's bedside drawer. Now let's all look inside it...Oh good golly!"

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  5. Industrial heritage of two very different kinds, but both fascinating. I didn't know about this type of bridge before; thank you for explaining and showing us the pictures!

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  6. Quite recently the bridge was closed for some kind of repair YP. We live fairly near so any news of it is on our Look North. I am ashamed to say I have never seen it.

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    1. Yes! Hang your head in shame! It's disgraceful.

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  7. There was one across the Mersey between Widnes and Runcorn. It was replaced by a huge bridge when I was a youngster. I do remember crossing on the transporter bridge though.

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    1. I believe that there are two or three of them on The Iberian Peninsula.

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    1. Thanks Terry. I am especially pleased with the top one - framed in that historic window in an old wall that once surrounded the Cleveland Salt Works.

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  9. What a feat of engineering that must have been (and still is), at that period in history. Brilliant stuff, and didn't know it even existed here. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Some Londoners seem to think that England is all about London Mr B... but of course you are not one of them.

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  10. I think that there is a similar bridge at Newport, South Wales, hubby loves all these old structures. Just going to google it to see.

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  11. Yes, indeed there is and we have been across them both. The Middlesbrough one is the largest of the two.

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    1. Thanks for that BeeBee. I should have checked harder before claiming that the Middlesbrough bridge is unique in Great Britain. Naughty me!

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    2. P.S. I went to school in Beverley. There is a stream there called Beverley Beck but no Beverley Brook.

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  12. I've seen pictures of that bridge, or maybe similar bridges, though I don't recall ever seeing one in real life. I was close to Hartlepool a couple of summers ago when I took a trip up to Peterlee. Interesting area!

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    1. I wonder what on earth you were doing in Peterlee. Did you have to take a phrase book with you? You are right it is an "interesting" area Steve.

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  13. Yorkshire Pudding, According to Wikipedia there is a stream by the name of Beverley Brook running through Wimbledon common and the south west of London. Graham (of Eagleton's notes fame) pointed this out to me.

    We can learn some useless information on these forums can't we?


    Have you been on the modern version of the transporter bridge - the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland? This is magnificent and transports canal boats up and down from one canal level to another.


    I like the Bee Bee moniker you used, I think I might have to adopt it in future.

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    1. Thank you for the extra information BeeBee. In 1972 I found myself in the middle of a powerful Pacific Ocean hurricane. It was called Hurricane BeBe - same pronunciation. Were you named after the brook that runs from Wimbledon Common? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverley_Brook

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  14. What an amazzzzing structure!! Whether I could make myself get into the basket is yet another thing. More amazing is the age of the transporter. Has it ever been used in movies?

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    1. Not many films are set in Middlesbrough you know Mrs Thyme. It's not Hollywood! Most film-makers don't know that Middlesbrough exists.

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  15. No, the Beverley sisters were all the rage when I was born so maybe that was where it came from. A bit of a funny one though. When I was about 10I was booked into Mexborough Montague hospital to have my tonsils removed. As they did in those days, it was barbaric and mostly unnecessary.... I digress, my mum duly took me at the appointed hour and the hospital staff seemed a bit put out. I was booked to be on the men's surgical ward as they thought I was a boy!!!! Beverley was not at all common in 1957-8. There was a broadcaster called Beverley Nichols ( maybe not the same spelling) hence they assumed I was male. I was found a bed in the children's ward. No escaping the horrid tonsillectomy. Lots of jelly and ice cream for a week until my throat healed.

    Regards BeBee

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    1. My mum was in Mexborough Montague Hospital when she was a girl. Did you see her? This would have been around 1929. She lived in Swinton at first - then moved to a posh place called Rawmarsh.

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  16. That should have read when I was 10 not 101! I must proof read better.

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    1. Could be a sign of early onset... now what the hell do they call that condition? Is it Saturday yet?

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