A Brief History of Scotswood Bridge

Categorised as Tyne & Wear
Scotswood Bridge 1832
Engraving of the Scotswood Bridge in 1832. The suspension bridge, also known as a chain bridge, was completed the previous year. Thanks to Newcastle Libraries' Service.

Scotswood Bridge is an important link between the west sides of Newcastle Upon Tyne and Gateshead.

But the 1967 Scotswood Bridge thousands of people drive across every day of the week today is in fact a replacement for the original Scotswood Bridge built in 1831.

Chain Bridge over the River Tyne

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.

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.

Building the Scotswood Bridge

Scotswood Bridge under construction c1966
Second Scotswood Bridge under construction, around 1966. Thanks to Newcastle Libraries’ Service.
Scotswood Bridge Chain Bridge Blaydon

In the video from 1967, we see people walking across the Scotswood Bridge, which is still under construction. Diggers work on the road underneath.

The new Scotswood Bridge cost £2.25m.

Opening the Scotswood Bridge

Next it’s the 20th March 1967.

We see Alderman Peter Renwick cutting a ribbon to officially open the Scotswood 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.

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