Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Gateshead (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


1833/0/10234 Swing Bridge, River Tyne 30-JUL-04

II* Swing road and pedestrian bridge, spanning the River Tyne. 1868-76, built on site of the Roman and Medieval bridges. W.G. Armstrong & Co of Newcastle upon Tyne for, and under supervision of, the Tyne Improvement Commission. Steam pumps replaced by electric in 1959. Granite abutments and piers on foundations of cast iron cylinders filled with concrete; timber control cabin and central pontoon. Wrought iron girder superstructure. Six spans, two over the land approach, two fixed spans over the water and the two spans of the rotatable central portion. North and south land abutments each of two piers arched together to provide an opening for the passage of land traffic. Surmounted by four pillars extending above the roadway topped with freestone and granite copings and groins. Coats of Arms of Gateshead, Newcastle and Port of Tyne Authority carved in relief on outsides of pillars. North and south piers with cutwaters and a recess of arctuate shape at their top forming a ledge on which the end of the bridge centre portion rests. Central pier with cutwaters supports swinging section of bridge surrounded by a timber jetty extending to the east and west to incorporate central pier of High Level Bridge. Two five sided stone projections either end of central pier house machinery for opening the bridge including original boilers, electric motors and pumps, accumulators and hydraulic engines and gearing all in duplicate. Bridge deck carries a roadway 7.3m wide with footways 2.4m wide either side. Ornate lamp standards and closeable gates either end of fixed sections. Maintenance platform suspended below deck on rollers. Swinging section of bridge approximately 86m long revolves on a roller bearing central pivot. Two large girders form two segmental arches filled with latticework. Central arched linking bridge; octagonal timber cupola with ogee roof and circular domed lantern on top. Swing span carries two iron staircases to cupola. The bridge is operated by machinery activated by high-pressure water from a hydraulic accumulator. Originally operated by hydraulic motors, now electrically powered; the mechanism, housed on the central pier is complete and operable. Swing bridge opened in 1876, a necessary development to allow for up river navigation by sea going vessels, particularly to Lord Armstrong's expanding Elswick Works. This development gave considerable benefit to the rapidly developing industry in that area. Hindmarsh R. F, 1930 Some of the Tyne Bridges, 6-9. Manders F and Potts R 2001, Crossing the Tyne 48-56.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Hindmarsh, R F, Some of the Tyne Bridges, (1930), 6-9
Manders, F, Potts, R, Crossing the Tyne, (2001), 48-56


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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