Thursday, 3 December 2009

Coltishall Bridge River Bure Norfolk

Coltishall Bridge
River Bure
November 2009

Coltishall Bridge seems to have gone through as may incarnations as Doctor Who, but none of the earlier versions are apparent unless you look in the history books.

Coltishall Bridge as it is in 2009

The concrete bridge you see today was built in 1913, after great flood of 1912. Its broad high span appears to have allowed the floodwaters to pass by, preventing any collapses in the last hundred years or so.

Coltishall Bridge after the 1912 flood

But the March 2007 edition of The Marl Pit, the local Coltishall community paper carried a good shot of the 1846 version, presumably taken just before the 1912 flood judging by the age of the car perched on top. Interestingly, the central date stone was recovered from the river and included in the current bridge, built in 1913.

Coltishall Bridge 1842 to 1912

From the look of the abutments leading up to this 1842 bridge, the central section is much newer than the ends, and I therefore suspect that an even earlier bridge stood on the spot which was either widened of washed away. As navigations tend to have an individual style, my money would be on a design of bridge which is still found around Aylsham Mill, and appears to have survived the 1912 deluge.

A bridge similar to the original?

My comtemporary photos clearly show the much older abutments built in the same soft red brick as used at Aylsham. The general state of the prickwork also suggests a contemoporary date of construction - probably 1779.

The original abutments - used for at least three bridges

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