MORE than 100 historic photographs showing the building of a North-East bridge have been unearthed by researchers.
They document iron and steel works along the banks of the River Tees, stages of construction of Newport Bridge, in Middlesbrough, and its official opening 80 years ago on February 28, 1934 by the Duke and Duchess of York, later to become George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
The striking images were uncovered in Teesside Archives’ yet to be catalogued Cleveland Bridge Collection by Tosh Warwick, of the Tees Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience Project, and Teesside University graduate and Tees Valley Community Foundation intern Jonathon Hooton.
They are doing research for the upcoming Bridging the World exhibition at the Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre, which celebrates the area’s bridge building heritage and featuring structures including Sydney Harbour and Victoria Falls Bridges.
Many of the recently uncovered snaps of the Tees Newport Bridge linking Middlesbrough with Stockton, date back to the earluy 1930s and were taken by Middlesbrough-based photography firm W. Haig Parry.
Mr Warwick, author of The History of the Tees Newport Bridge and Tees Transporter Bridge education, learning and events officer said: “We are delighted to have uncovered these unique images whilst carrying out research for the exhibition.
“The bridge provided the new major link between Durham and Yorkshire and played an integral role in the expansion of the national motorway network and continues to play an important role in linking the two counties today.”
The Tees Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience Project is part of the £2.6m Heritage Lottery Fund scheme for refurbishment and upgrade work to the bridge.
Often overshadowed by its neighbour the 102-year-old Transporter Bridge, the Newport crossing was the first vertical lift bridge of its type in Britain and largest in the World.
Ruth Hobbins, Teesside Archives manager added: “The Cleveland Bridge Collection contains a wide range of unique photographs and documents relating to famous bridges and other structures around the world.”
Mr Warwick is appealing for the public to contribute their memories of the Newport Bridge to the exhibition Contributions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to Tosh Warwick, Tees Newport Bridge Memories, 3rd Floor, PO Box 502, Vancouver House, Gurney Street, Middlesbrough, TS1 9FW.
The pictures will be available to view at teestransporterbridge.com in March and the Bridging the World exhibition will open at the Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre once in spring once it has been repainted.