Blue Bridge History

Hey everyone, on my last post I uploaded a slightly more abstracted picture of Blue Bridge on Manchester Road, Isle of Dogs, London. I have since done a little more web crawling and research because I found it quite an interesting piece of engineering. I was actually standing on the bridge with Reiss when it started to make an alarm sound, at first I thought it was coming from the bus that just passed us. Reiss suggested we get off and then when I saw the barrier it occurred to me that the bridge was going to raise. I found it quite a special experience to see the bridge raising up totally vertical (see picture below) and then slowly lowering back to its original state, so here is a little bit of history:

The bridge that currently stands today was built in 1969, although there have been several bridges erected on the site previously, the original dates back to 1804. The current bridge is a Bascule (movable bridge) type steel bridge which is powered by electrics and hydraulics. Today it is looked after by British Waterways who spent £435,000 upgrading the bridge and giving it a full repaint in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Being the main bridge that allows access to the lock entrance to Canary Wharf, it gets a lot of shipping traffic entering and is thus designed to move up and down fairly quickly, the current bridge can achieve full opening in less than 1 minute.

The original bridge that was situated in 1804 was built of timber that was driven manually, this survived until 1842 when a cast iron replacement was made by the Butterley Company in Glasgow. This bridge was transported down from Glasgow to London to have final construction and fitting on site. The dock area was later widened and resulted in another bridge needing to be built in 1866. The 1929 bridge was the first to be made out of steel and electronically powered and was 46 foot longer than the current bridge that stands today due to positioning differences. This was finally written off when a boat collided with it forcing either costly repairs or a modernisation and in 1969 the current bridge was opened.  At the time of being opened the 1969 Blue Bridge was the largest single-leaf Bascule bridge that existed in Britain and was built for only £274,500.





After a walk around the Isle of Dogs we returned to cross the bridge back the way we had come, across the other side the wind had blown the railing making it look like it was coming down. I panicked because I thought the bridge was going to raise with us in the middle so for a second I made myself look like a fool before announcing to Reiss (who wasn’t worried) that everything was ok, it was just the wind making the barrier move. Still, it pays to be aware!


Thank you for stopping,

Tom out!

One thought on “Blue Bridge History

  1. Pingback: London Walk About | Chill Cleal

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