Britains greatest bridges: From the Humber to the Forth, historian travels the length and breadth of UK to chart nations favourite road and rail crossings

Joseph Rogers has named forty 40 structures including the famous Tower Bridge

The Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol and Scotlands Forth Bridge also feature

London Bridge or the Gateshead Millennium Bridge did not make the list

Published:13:46 BST, 4 April 2019Updated:16:17 BST, 4 April 2019

Scotlands iconic Forth Bridge spans 2,467 metres over the River Forth. Some 57 lives were lost during the construction process which began in 1882 and, at its peak, employed more than 4,000 workers. The 110-metre high crossing, which opened in 1890, is sustained by more than 50,000 tons of steel and 6.5million rivets. The bridge is still used by 200 vehicles daily which carry an annual three million passengers

Joseph Rogers selection of 40 structures includes the famous landmarks of Tower Bridge, the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol and Scotlands Forth Bridge.

However, he has also made some more obscure choices in a bid to highlight the countrys lesser known gems.

The 7,220ft Humber Bridge near Kingston-upon-Hull was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was opened by the Queen in 1982. In 2017, the iconic Humber Bridge was given Grade I listed status. The overpass connecting East Riding of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire has one of the longest main spans in the world – 4,626ft – which stretches between two 500ft high towers. The construction process lasted eight years and was only approved by an Act of Parliament after a 100-year campaign from locals who were not satisfied by the estuary ferries nor the prospect of driving round via Goole. Over 1000 workmen were employed during the hight of the suspension bridges build

Mr Rogers said: Bridges, along with religious buildings, have become icons of design, wealth and prowess, paying homage not to God, but to the great engineers that construct them, the royals and governors that authorise them and the people that ultimately use them.

The Salford Quays Millennium Bridge, also known as the Lowry Bridge, was built in 2000 to provide a crossing to the north bank of the Manchester Ship Canal, which is home to the Lowry Centre and the Imperial War museum. The bridge, which spans 299ft, marks the end of the famous Ship Canal and can rise up on hydraulic lifts to allow larger vessels under and through to the docks

He said: With such an appreciation for its vast and detailed history, todays United Kingdom exemplifies almost every age of British engineering and the desire to bridge gaps in the nations landscape.

The Pulteney Bridge in Bath makes claim to be one of the most photographed Georgian pieces of architecture in the city, chiefly because it is one of the only crossings in the world to be completely lined with shops. The bridge was named after Frances Pulteney, the wife of 18th century landowner William Pulteney who instructed Robert Adam to design the structure in 1769. The bridge opened a year later and, although it was fairy small even by Georgian standards, people marvelled at the classical design

The bridge formed by the Tarr Steps in Exmoor National park has changed little over time since the clapper bridge was first built in what is thought to be the Tudor period. It is made entirely from large stones and is the longest of its kind in Britain. When the river floods, some of the bridge becomes submerged and even erodes, meaning it has had to undergo several repair works

A historian has travelled the length and breadth of Britain to compile a list of its greatest bridges.

Joseph Rogers selection of 40 structures includes the famous landmarks of Tower Bridge, the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol and Scotlands Forth Bridge.

However, he has also made some more obscure choices in a bid to highlight the countrys lesser known gems.

These include Skerne Bridge in Darlington, Gallon Bridge in Smethwick and Clachan Bridge in the Isle of Seil.

The comprehensive list is published in his new book, Britains Greatest Bridges.

Mr Rogerss list unsurprisingly features the Grade I listed Severn Bridge connecting England with south Wales.

Also on it is the 7,220ft Humber Bridge near Kingston-upon-Hull which when it opened in 1981 was the longest suspension bridge in the world.

One of the most idyllic listed is the 18th Century Pulteney Bridge in Bath whose design by architect Robert Adam was inspired by visits to Florence in Italy.

As a result, he placed rows of shops along both sides of the structure.

Mr Rogers has also chosen the Tarr Steps in Exmoor National Park which is formed by large flat slabs of stone.

Londons Tower Bridge claims to be the capitals defining landmark since it was built 120 years ago. The two central spans of the crossing can raise up to allow large boats up the Thames, and in 1910, people could even cross the bridge via the high walkways when it was letting ships through. It took about 430 daily construction workers eight years to build the monumental overpass, by planting two towers into the river bed before using 11,000 tons of steel to forge the frame

The Newport Transporter Bridge is one of only six transporter bridges in the world to still be used to this day. It was opened in 1906 by Lord Tredegar of Tredegar House after Parliament approved the construction in 1900. It has a main span of 645ft and each tower weighs 277 tons. The bridge works by lowering a gondola or platform from the carriage on top of the bridge which then pulls it from one side of the river to the other with a hauling cable

The Bridge of Sighs, also known as the Heritage Bridge, stretches between Hertford College and New College in Oxford. The Grade 2 listed crossing is said to be a replica of an overpass in Venice however this is contested. Sir Thomas Jackson designed the bridge and, despite the planning being opposed by New College, it was completed in 1914

Another one on Mr Rogerss list is the Skerne Railway Bridge in Darlington has made its own piece of history as it is the oldest railway bridge in the world in continuous use.

Built in 1825 by George Stephenson, it carried the first locomotive on the day the Stockton and Darlington Railway opened and still serves the Bishop Line today.

However, there is no room in Mr Rogers list for London Bridge, the Tees Transporter or the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

Mr Rogers said: Bridges, along with religious buildings, have become icons of design, wealth and prowess, paying homage not to God, but to the great engineers that construct them, the royals and governors that authorise them and the people that ultimately use them.

With such an appreciation for its vast and detailed history, todays United Kingdom exemplifies almost every age of British engineering and the desire to bridge gaps in the nations landscape.

The following examples demonstrate key points in that history.

Bridges that changed the way Britain approached such a technical feat or are noted for their development, relevance, aesthetics or lasting legacy.

There are, however, innumerable structures that warrant in-depth analysis, poetic description or public recognition, most of which can only be found, appreciated or understood by seeing them first-hand.

Iron Bridge in Shropshire is a World Heritage Site thanks to it being the first bridge to be made of the metal on earth. The crossing was erected over the River Severn in 1779, although the design process began years earlier in the nearby town of Coalbrookdale when Abraham Darby began smelting cast iron at the start of the Industrial Revolution. It is thought that 384 tonnes of iron was used to construct the frame

Bridge House in Ambleside in the Cumbrias Lake District is described as a 17th Century survivor which stands over Stock Beck river. It was originally built by the influential Braithwaite family so they could access their orchards which were scattered around Bridge House. In the 1920s, a fundraising drive began to repair the now longstanding bridge

Newcastles Tyne Bridge links the north east city to neighbouring Gateshead on the other side of the river. It was designed by Dorman Long who also constructed the identical Sydney Harbour Bridge. When it first opened, the Tyne Bridge was the longest single span bridge in the world and was opened on 10 October 1928 by King George V. The two towers on either bank of the Tyne are made of granite and originally were fitted with lifts which are no longer in use

The Severn Bridge is a motorway suspension crossing which stretches between Gloucestershire and Chepstow in South East Wales. It took three years to build at the cost of 8million and was opened in 1966 by the Queen. It replaced the vehicle ferry between Aust Cliff and Beachley Peninsula and carries the M4 motorway between England and Wales

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