Tuesday 16 February 2010

Low profile span

Derwent Street crosses the river by means of Exeter Bridge. The original, designed by James Trubshaw in 1850, had 3 arches, but was demolished in 1929 as the first project in the Civic Redevelopment Scheme which (I am learning) saw so many major changes in this area of Derby. This single span concrete bridge was designed by Charles Herbert Aslin of the City Architect's Dept and opened on March 13th 1931 by Herbert Morrison, who was the then Minister for Transport.

Whilst digging through web pages (some extremely informative and others considerably less so) I have come across two gems which I found particularly interesting. The first is that the four posts at the ends of this bridge (two are just visible to the right of picture) are adorned with bas relief, head and shoulder sculptures of four famous Derbeians. I am beginning to think that I walk round this city with my eyes wide shut! In spite of having crossed this bridge on a number of occasions (including yesterday), I have failed comprehensively to notice these sculptures! I will investigate at my earliest convenience!

The other gem made me howl with laughter. During the construction of this bridge, the civil engineers conducted a test to ensure that it would be strong enough to cope with the anticipated volume of traffic. Health and safety buffs look away now! The engineers drove a procession of traction engines, steam rollers and heavy lorries across the newly constructed span. It does rather beg the question about what would have happened had the bridge NOT lived up to expectation!

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