World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Cleveland Bridge

Article Id: WHEBN0002070127
Reproduction Date:

Title: Cleveland Bridge  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: North East England, River Avon (Bristol), Darlington, Henry Goodridge, Peter Hayes (sculptor), List of people from Bath, List of historic buildings of the United Kingdom
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Cleveland Bridge

For the structural engineering and bridge building company, see Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company.

Cleveland Bridge is a grade II* listed building[1] located in the World Heritage Site of Bath, England. It is notable for the unusual lodges that adorn each corner in a style that could be likened to miniature Greek temples.

Location

Cleveland Bridge links the A4/London Road in Bath with the A36 via Bathwick Street, at the point where it is joined by St John's Road.[2]

History

Cleveland Bridge was built in 1826[3] by William Hazledine (Coalbrookdale Ironworks) with Henry Goodridge as the architect,[1] on the site of a Roman ferry crossing. Named after the 3rd Duke of Cleveland, it spans the River Avon at Bathwick, and enabled further development of Georgian Bath to take place on the south side of the river. It was designed by architect Henry Goodridge to take the traffic of his day, horse-drawn vehicles and pedestrians, and was constructed using the warm golden Bath Stone and an elegant cast-iron arched span.

A toll house was required to charge users of the bridge for the privilege of crossing. Rather than building merely one, Goodridge decided to install four — one on each corner — in order to maintain the absolute symmetry of his elegant neoclassical design. He provided each of these lodges with columns fronting onto the bridge, giving them the appearance of small ancient temples. This is what still gives the bridge its unique appearance today. Only one of the four (Number 1 next to St John's Road) was actually used as a toll house; the rest were always let to private tenants as small dwellings or shops. Given the small size of these dwellings (one room upstairs, two on the middle floor and one that would have flooded each winter in the basement) it seems extraordinary that the 1891 UK census clearly records a family of three people and two lodgers living in one of the lodges.

The bridge was constructed using funds subscribed by numerous local wealthy citizens to a specially formed Bathwick Bridge Company with a view to investors making a return on investment through the toll charges. In order to establish the bridge and the company an Act of Parliament was required and, in a move which would later prove the undoing of the company, the level of the toll was fixed at one penny. Unfortunately for the shareholders of the Bathwick Bridge Company, inflation took hold during the 19th century and, by the early 20th century, a one penny toll was not worth much. By the 1920s, the revenues from tolls no longer covered the costs of operating and maintaining the bridge.

The Bath Corporation Act of 1925 allowed the City Council to take over the bridge from the now bankrupt Bathwick Bridge Company. To much celebration, it was freed it from tolls for all traffic on 20 June 1927 and extensively restored during 1928 and 1929. Cleveland Bridge is still free to use today, although the next bridge upstream at Bathampton is one of the UK's few remaining privately owned toll bridges.

After the Second World War, a shortage of cash and materials and a general lack of interest in Bath's architecture meant that the fabric of the bridge was neglected. By the 1980s, three out of four of the lodges were derelict and unfit for human habitation. Concerned at the neglect of this unique structure by its owners, Bath and North East Somerset Council, a group of local individuals formed a charity (the Bath Historical Buildings Trust) to take a very long lease on three of the lodges and to restore them so that they could once again become homes for people. This work is almost complete.


Capacity

Around the same time that the bridge was freed from toll, heavier vehicles powered by the internal combustion engine were making their way onto the roads. The slender cast iron span of Cleveland Bridge required reinforcement. Major steelwork was inserted under the roadway around 1929, giving it the strength which today allows it to carry 38 tonne trucks. Bath has no eastern bypass, so the bridge has become a heavily used "Euro route" for large trucks on their way from Britain's south coast ports to the docks further north. High volumes of local traffic at peak travelling times make this a regular traffic slow spot in the mornings and evenings. All told, over 17,000 vehicles use the bridge each day between 7am and 7pm. Inevitably, accidental strikes to the bridge occur every few months as heavy trucks misjudge the narrow roadway or try to pass each other.

Emergency services connection

Despite the frequent traffic jams on Cleveland Bridge, Bath's only fire and ambulance stations are located next to it and the drivers of emergency vehicles are assertive in expressing their need to cross on the way to respond to an emergency call. The connection between the bridge and these services is long established because the lodge formerly used as a toll house (Number 1) was the 999 response centre for the city of Bath for some time after the Second World War.

The bridge today

The distinctive lodges of Cleveland Bridge are now restored to their former glory and are back in use as homes. One, however, remains a working premises. Sculptures by ceramic artist Peter Hayes are on display around the world but he still works from a studio below his gallery at lodge number 2. His techniques for creating a patina include immersing half-completed pieces for a period of months in the river, where they absorb minerals from the water.

References

Coordinates: 51°23′22″N 2°21′21″W / 51.38944°N 2.35583°W / 51.38944; -2.35583

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.