A Brief History of Scotswood Bridge (With Old Photos & Film)

Scotswood Bridge 1832

Glimpse history through old images of Scotswood Bridge, which links the West End of Newcastle and the western fringes of Gateshead.

The Scotswood Bridge used by thousands of vehicles every day is in fact a 1967 replacement for the original Scotswood Bridge built in 1831.

The Chain Bridge

The Chain Bridge between Scotswood and Blaydon was erected as a toll bridge in 1831, and was the first bridge over the Tyne completed in the industrial era.

Eventually, it became a public road without charge.

By 1967, narrow pinch points meant it was struggling to cope with heavy traffic from cars.

Plus, in an age which happily swept away historic buildings and structures in inconvenient places, it was seen as too expensive to maintain.

Building the Scotswood Bridge

Two old photos, taken around 1966, show the arches of the new bridge under construction. You can see the original chain bridge – which gave its name to the Chainbridge Industrial Estate – still in place.

Scotswood Bridge 1967

The new Scotswood Bridge cost £2.25m, and opened on March 20th, 1967.

In the footage recorded for the opening, we see people walking across the new bridge, which is still under construction. Diggers are working on the road underneath.

At the end of this clip, we’ll see the Chain Bridge closed to all traffic and pedestrians. The demolition teams moved in soon after.

Newcastle Bridge (1967) – British Pathe on YouTube

The Official Opening 1967

Next it’s the 20th March 1967.

We see Alderman Peter Renwick cutting a ribbon to officially open the new vehicular bridge.

Alderman Peter Renwick was Lord Mayor of Newcastle in 1963 and 1964, and then Sheriff in 1967. Alderman Renwick was one of the key figures who tried to resurrect the dilapidated Blackfriars Friary in the 1960s. One of his suggestions was to open a city records office in the Newcastle site established by the Blackfriars in 1239 AD.

A large crowd watches, and then disperses across the new roads.

Demolishing the Chain Bridge

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