The Seven Bridges of Newcastle
All views of the Newcastle riverside, are of course dominated by the seven famous bridges across the Tyne, which link the city to Gateshead on the south bank of the river. From west to east they are; the Redheugh bridge, King Edward VII bridge, Queen Elizabeth II bridge, The High Level bridge, the Swing bridge, the George V bridge and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. The George V bridge is more familiarly known as the Tyne Bridge.
The Tyne bridge is still by far the best known feature of Tyneside. Opened in 1929 by King George V and built by Dorman Long of Middlesbrough, it served as a model for the similar, but very much larger Sydney Harbour Bridge which was also built at Middlesbrough.
Lowest of the bridges is the Swing Bridge of 1876, which leads directly into the heart of the Newcastle Quayside below the castle keep. Designed by the famous Tyneside engineer William Armstrong (1810-1900), it is located on the site of the Roman and medieval bridge. During the construction of this swing bridge, two Roman altars were dredged from the river dedicated to the gods Neptune and Oceanus. They would have belonged to a shrine built to protect the Roman bridge of Pons Aelius from the tidal Tyne.
The King Edward bridge was built in 1906 by Cleveland Bridge of Darlington, while the Redheugh and Queen Elizabeth II bridges are more modern structures, the former built of concrete the latter a steel structure used by the Metro system.
Oldest of Newcastle’s Tyne bridges, is the High Level Bridge which was erected in 1848 to the designs of Robert Stephenson, it comprises two tiers for road and rail. One of the best views of Newcastle can be obtained from on board a train, as it crosses this bridge on the main London to Edinburgh line.
The most recent of the bridges is of course the beautiful Gateshead Millennium Bridge which is for the use of cyclists and pedestrians only. Opened in September 2001, the whole bridge can be tilted by 40 degrees to allow ships and boats to pass underneath.