Saturday, 10 April 2010
We all take bridges for granted getting from one side of the River Aire to the other but in the nineteenth century it wasn't so easy.
In April 1840 an Act of Parliament was obtained to build this bridge to relieve the growing pressure on Leeds Bridge (at that time an old and many times widened stone structure) at the eastern edge of central Leeds. Designed by the Bradford engineer George Leather Jnr., the 120 feet wide, single span iron bridge was constructed with castings made at Park Iron Works in Sheffield.
The bridge was built at a cost of £36,000 and officially opened as a toll bridge in July 1842. The toll was abolished in March 1868.
George Leather Jnr, as engineer to the Aire and Calder Navigation, was also responsible for rebuilding the Victoria Bridge three or four years earlier after the timber bridge on the spot had been swept away in a great flood. The cost of the stone structure was a mere £8,000. A much smaller bridge or was stone cheaper than iron?
Joyce James hand stitched this piece on printed fabric. The earlier pieces of printed fabric were produced by a commercial firm but this is one of those done by the volunteers with a domestic ink-jet printer, using iron-on transfer paper.