Transportation => Highways => Topic started by: kyn on December 24, 2008, 17:03:29

Title: Rochester Bridge
Post by: kyn on December 24, 2008, 17:03:29
A selection of pictures showing the changes to this very important and well used bridge...

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/RochBridge1.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/RochBridge2.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/RochBridge3.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/RochBridge4.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/RochBridge5.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/RochBridge6.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/RochBridge7.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/Rochbridge8.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/RochBridge9.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/RochBridge10.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/RochBridge11.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/RochBridge12.jpg)

All pics borrowed from Medway Cityark site  ;D
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: kyn on December 24, 2008, 18:37:08
Copy of photograph of triumphal arch on the Rochester foot of Rochester Bridge, built to mark the coronation of King Edward VII, looking from the end of Rochester High Street through the arch along the bridge. Showing adult and juvenile foot passengers. Original exposed 1902.

Can't find when it was removed but i would assume it was during road widening for increased traffic.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Paul on December 24, 2008, 20:08:29
Was there ever a floating bridge at Rochester ???
I read an account of the seige of Rochester Castle and im sure it mentioned a floating bridge.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: merc on December 24, 2008, 21:05:34
Was there ever a floating bridge at Rochester ???
I read an account of the seige of Rochester Castle and im sure it mentioned a floating bridge.
I can't find any mention of a floating bridge at Rochester ???

They often used pontoon bridges in the Siege Operations on the Cumberland lines though.

I did find this...
In the 1264 Siege on the Castle,Earl Simon de Montfort got across the river "by a certain most subtle device" involving a fire-ship loaded with pitch,coal,sulpher and fat bacon...used,it would seem,to fire the bridge,or possibly to provide a smoke screen while his forces crossed the river.

Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Paul on December 24, 2008, 21:51:09
Ill try to find it ???
It said something like "They retreated across the floating "stone" bridge when the tide was right ???
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: splashdown on January 04, 2009, 15:57:11
a good family friend told me that she was the telephone opperator in the wingets building in the corner office an as such had to sound the air raid warning for the factory to send the workforce into the shelters. she herself was not allowed to leave her post an was built a steel box in her office that she had to run into at the last moment before the bomb hit. her husband also remembers a plan to build a ramp from the end of the bridge strood side to take traffic around the outside of the factory if the main A2 was blocked in strood highstreet as this was the only way through to london. He was for some time writing a book on the history of the medway towns though never compleated it and is digging out his research for me. hope fullg i can put some of it on this forum.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: kyn on January 09, 2009, 16:23:26
 :)
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: kyn on January 11, 2009, 12:35:38
 :)
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Roob Itself on February 08, 2009, 22:48:16
Isnt the road bridge now the old train bridge that went to chatham central and rochester goods yard.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: merc on February 08, 2009, 23:19:24
Isnt the road bridge now the old train bridge that went to chatham central and rochester goods yard.
yep,one of them is/was.
(http://contueor.com/baedeker/great_britain/chathamrochester2.jpg)
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Riding With The Angels on January 17, 2010, 23:43:03
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-22d.jpg)
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Chatham_Girl85 on January 17, 2010, 23:44:09
wonder where that staircase goes to in the centre of the pic... obviously down to the river...
was there like a platform there?
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: kyn on January 17, 2010, 23:54:58
There are rooms under that part of the bridge.  Some people say public toilets and some say a mortuary.  Either way the rooms have white tiles on the walls!
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: ChrisExiledFromStrood on January 18, 2010, 10:08:37
wonder where that staircase goes to in the centre of the pic... obviously down to the river...
was there like a platform there?
Looks like maintenance access to the piers of the middle bridge (the one built as one a rail bridge and re-used for the modern (eastbound) A2 bridge.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: peterchall on January 18, 2010, 10:46:41
I'm pretty sure they were simply Ladies and Gents toilets.
During WW2 there were "ramps" at each end of the bridge, at right angles to the road, to give emergency access to the (then dis-used) middle bridge, in case the road bridge was damaged.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: ChrisExiledFromStrood on January 18, 2010, 11:15:00
I'm pretty sure they were simply Ladies and Gents toilets.
Yes, I seem to remember toilets there on the corner.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Medway Buoy on January 18, 2010, 14:07:53
The toilets were beneath the fenced in structure in the foreground of the picture. The toilets were very clean, white tiled there was an attendant in both ladies and gents and you could have a wash and brush up for 4d? that was in the fifties. When did they close, anyone know, I think in the 70s or 80s.
The staircase in the centre of the picture is (so I was informed about 50 years ago) for access to inspect the buttress which are the main supports for the bridge. At the end of the semi circular support girder, at footpath level, between the framework there is/was a hinged plate which gave access to the staircase. I noticed that in later years these access points had locks on them.
There was a mortuary but that was on the other side of the railway bridge on the Rochester side. It was a tin shed (memory is a bit vague on this) right alongside the railway bridge with access from the river. I think it was just a place to put any bodies that were pulled from the river especially as the police station and harbour master was very close by.

Medway Buoy  
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: peterchall on January 22, 2010, 12:09:12
During WW2 there were "ramps" at each end of the bridge, at right angles to the road, to give emergency access to the (then dis-used) middle bridge, in case the road bridge was damaged.
The ramp was right in the foreground of the picture. There was another one at the other end of the bridge, Strood High Street then being only single carriageway. I think the old railway bridge surface was just old track bed when the ramps were first put there, and road surfacing was done later, but can't remember full details or dates.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Merv on January 22, 2010, 21:16:34
The Newer of the road bridges was opened in the early seventies by Princess Margaret, and found to be cracking a couple of years later.
Yes service duct through the middle.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: merc on February 15, 2010, 22:11:46
In The Rochester Bridge Trust book i bought today, it sayes at the Strood end of the Victorian bridge was a Swing bridge, that was so delicately balenced that even though the total weight was 300 tonnes, two men could rotate it with ease 90 degrees upwards in just five minutes.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiffy on November 29, 2010, 16:46:33
Interesting picture taken during the war, showing the central ex-SER bridge converted to take either rail or road traffic in the event of the other bridges being damaged. Not quite sure how the road traffic would have got on and off the railway bridge!

(http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x345/smudge1954/Bridge.jpg)
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiffy on November 29, 2010, 16:57:28
Sorry, made a mistake with the previous post - the central bridge is the old LCDR, SER on the right.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiffy on November 29, 2010, 16:58:50
What's the matter with me - SER on the LEFT! It's been one of those days.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: peterchall on November 29, 2010, 17:46:22
Not quite sure how the road traffic would have got on and off the railway bridge!
There was a 'ramp' at each end at about 45deg. The one at the Rochester end was the basis for the present access to the Esplanade, as seen here:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=8575.msg42860#msg42860
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Rochester-bred on December 30, 2010, 21:23:34
Can anyone tell me, on the strood side of the Rochester bridge (where the civic centre was) where the swing bridge used to be ,there appears to be windows in a large wide piece of the bridge before it goes across the last piece of the Medway, does anyone know what is inside as it seems strange place to have a room and windows and how would anyone get to it ,i have put the page where i found the picture.

 http://www.movablebridges.org.uk/BridgePage.asp?BridgeNumber=1043
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Rochester-bred on December 31, 2010, 18:42:58
Here is a better picture that i found of the mysterious room.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alaricpether/3999412170/in/pool-71437085@N00/
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: ann on November 27, 2011, 18:32:20
Taken from History of the County of Kent by W H Ireland 1830.

There is no evidence of there having been a bridge at Rochester for many centuries after the Romans retired from Britain; it is most probable that a ferry was their mode of conveyance. Dr Thorpe, an eminent physician and antiquary who resided many years in this town, was inclined to believe that the first bridge between Rochester and Strood was erected in the reign of Edgar the Peaceable, but the reasons on which he founded his opinion are not known. It is certain however that there was a bridge before the Conquest, and that divers tracts of land were subjected to its support.
It appears from ancient manuscripts that this early bridge was of wood, and placed in the line of the principal streets of Rochester and strood. From the depth of the water its constant rapidity, the occasional roughness of the tides, and the shocks of large bodies of ice, the bridge required such frequent and heavy repairs, that the supporting of it became a great burden to the owners of the contributory lands. In the early part of the 14th century this structure was represented as being ‘dangerous for passengers, and nearly destroyed’. Under these circumstances with a laudable spirit of compassion and generosity, the great warriors Sir Robert Knolles and sir John de Cobham built, at their joint expense the present bridge of stone……
The length of the bridge is 560 feet, with a stone parapet on either side, strongly coped, and surmounted by an iron railing. It has now eleven arches supported by strong and substantial piers, which are properly secured on each side by sterlings. The river has a considerable fall through these arches.
Under the very able management of these wardens for several years past, the estates proper have been duly attended to, and the increased revenue well applied. The transit of carriages before and after passing the bridge is still inconvenient, though the entrances to both sides were much improved some years back, particularly the street at Rochester, which was widened by the removal of some houses. The inhabitants have it in contemplation to erect a new bridge over the Medway, at a short distance from the present fabric.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: kyn on February 19, 2012, 00:52:44
The Times - 14th January 1857

Destruction of Old Rochester-Bridge.

The destruction of the first portion of old Rochester-bridge by the Royal Engineers was successfully accomplished yesterday afternoon, under the general direction of Colonel H. Sandham, Director of the Royal Engineers’ establishment at Brompton Barracks, chatham, in the presence of Lieutenant-General Sir Charles W. Pasley, K.C.B., Major-General Sir Harry D. Jones, K.C.B., and a large number of Engineer officers belonging to that garrison, as well as several scientific gentlemen, who were anxious to witness the destruction by gunpowder of such immense works.
As soon as the demolition of old Rochester-bridge-which has stood upwards of four centuries-was decided upon Colonel Sandham made application to the proper authorities that the Royal Sappers and Miners and the east India Company’s Engineers might be employed in its destruction, as it was considered that the rare concurrence of removing such a huge mass as masonry was one admirably adapted for practising the officers and men of the Royal Engineers in destroying great works, especially as the troops belonging to that branch of the service had given such successful evidence of their skill in the demolition of the immense docks at Sebastopol.  The authorities immediately granted the application, and on the 24th of November last a body of Sappers and Miners, under the command of Captain H. Schaw, Royal Engineers, who has ever since very ably superintended the undertaking, commenced making the necessary preparations for destroying the bridge.  For this purpose the engineers commenced sinking three shafts o different piers, which were excavated to the respective depths of 24 feet, 21 feet, and 15 feet, it being found impossible to sink them any deeper owing to the constant breaking in the water.  Each shaft had a mean diameter of 4 feet.  As soon as the shafts had been complete to the required depth the working parties commenced driving a series of galleries, leading in horizontal directions form each shaft, in which to deposit the gunpowder used in blowing up the structure.  The portion of the old bridge destroyed yesterday was one of the large piers, near the Strood side, from which the arches and superstructure had been previously removed by manual labour.  This pier was 36 feet in length, 21 feet wide, and 13 feet in depth, and was calculated to contain considerably more than 12,000 cubic feet of masonry, weighing 80 tons.  From the shaft which had been excavated in this pier sprang six galleries – viz., two of 10 feet in length, from the extremity of each of which branched at right angles another gallery of 3 feet in length; there were also two other galleries diverging from the central shaft, each 4 feet by 9 inches in length, the galleries being each 4 feet deep by 3 feet in breadth, to enable toe Sappers and Miners to traverse them.  The weight of gunpowder required to be use in destroying this pier was 300lb., consisting of four charges, each of 60lb., and two lesser charges, each of 30lb., one charge being placed in each gallery.  The powder was contained in tin cases enclosed in wooden boxes.  The Royal Engineers were engaged at the old bridge during the whole of the previous night preparing the galleries, after which the powder was deposited in the places selected.  The operation of “tanping” then commenced, which consisted of surrounding the charges with materials to render the explosion more effective, and stopping the head of each of the galleries with wet clay.  The wires for firing the charges were laid in wooden troughs, to prevent accidents, and, a communication having been effected with each gallery, the charges were exploded simultaneously by means of the voltaic battery, which was under the direction of Captain C. E. Cumberland, Royal Engineers.  The wire used for conveying the galvanic spark was the same as used by the Sappers and Miners for blowing up the Royal George at Spithead.
The effects of the explosion were most satisfactory, and the destruction of that pat of the old bridge most complete, the large blocks of stone of which it was composed being rent asunder ad hurled into the river, the only sight visible to the spectators being a violent upheaving of the water and the disappearance of the large pier.  Notwithstanding the immense number of spectators present, the operations passed off without the slightest accident.
There will be another explosion of a still larger portion of the bridge by the Royal Engineers on Thursday afternoon, on which occasion there will be four charges fired, two of 230lb. each, and two of 150lb. each.  His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge is expected to be present on that occasion.
Colonel H. Sandham, commanding the Royal Engineers, has published a “memorandum” to the troops, in which he offers his best thanks to Mr. Wright, the engineer of the bridge works, for his ready concurrence in the whole of the proceedings, and also for the valuable assistance he has rendered the troops during the progress of the operations.
The whole of the troops belonging to the Royal engineers and East India Company’s service, as well as those of the Provisional Battalion at Chatham, were present to witness the operations.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Leofwine on February 19, 2012, 01:30:04
And as if by magic the pictures appeared...

Photographs reproduced by permission of the Royal Engineers Museum www.re-museum.co.uk

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7180/6899629939_1af69889bc_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7041/6899630817_18bafa6b96_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7188/6899631479_be37734386_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7199/6899632461_2009094ba2_b.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7207/6899632795_81fb078a41_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Rochester-bred on February 19, 2012, 09:28:00
Thanks Leofwine for the pictures, I`ve never seen them before.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: numanfan on February 19, 2012, 09:33:00
Great photos Leofwine. Didn't I read somewhere that some of the demolished bridge was used to build Rochester Esplanade, beneath the castle walls?
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: kyn on February 19, 2012, 11:36:51
Thats brilliant Leofwine, thank you!
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Lyn L on February 19, 2012, 12:51:35
Great photos Leofwine, thanks  :)
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: davidt on February 19, 2012, 14:36:06
Great pictures Leofwine. Thanks for sharing them. It looks like it was a lovely old bridge - shame it had to go, but the new bridge was much safer.

I believe you're right Numanfan - the balustrade was certainly used. You can see it in a couple of the photos and it matches what is there now.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: peterchall on April 20, 2012, 00:43:39
What a superb photo :) :)
Presumably that is a tunnel entrance in the middle of the photo. Where does, or did, it go to (is it still there?) It seems strange to put it in the island between two very busy carriageways!
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: swiftone on April 20, 2012, 06:50:18
What a superb photo :) :)
Presumably that is a tunnel entrance in the middle of the photo. Where does, or did, it go to (is it still there?) It seems strange to put it in the island between two very busy carriageways!

I seem to recall there is a service tunnel carrying telephone cables etc, so maybe this is the entrance.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: redge on April 20, 2012, 09:06:39
The tunnel entrance in the centre of picture was for people crossing the coast bound traffic,
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: peterchall on April 20, 2012, 09:11:48
So did they rely on traffic lights to get across the London bound road?
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: swiftone on April 20, 2012, 11:24:06
So did they rely on traffic lights to get across the London bound road?

I would think so. On the coast bound side traffic would always be moving either from Strood or exiting from the Esplanade. I can now see the exit on the path of the coastbound side.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: merc on April 20, 2012, 11:56:32
The subway under Corporation Street has been sealed off for a while now. The one on the Strood side of the bridge is still open though.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Megapack162 on April 20, 2012, 17:08:53
I think this is from the early 1970's

It was definitely taken after 28th February 1974 as that's the launch date of the Mark II Capri you can see pulling away from the traffic lights in the outside lane. There aren't many more vehicular clues, unless that's a mark IV Cortina - launched in 1976 - at the back of the inside lane?
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Sentinel S4 on April 20, 2012, 17:53:20
The group of five cars look to me as, near side lane Mk 2 Escort Estate and a Mk 2 or 3 Granada (the first of the boxy version), off side lane we seem to have a Mk 3 Cortina (the best looking one in my opinion), a Citroen CX and a Mk 2 Cortina. The subway seems to go from the middle of the road the pop up at the start of the bridge.

S4.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: ChrisExiledFromStrood on April 20, 2012, 19:07:23
What a superb photo :) :)
Presumably that is a tunnel entrance in the middle of the photo. Where does, or did, it go to (is it still there?) It seems strange to put it in the island between two very busy carriageways!
There was an underpass under only one of the carriageways - the other side comes up between road and railway.
Edit: Sorry - what the others already said - didn't see the next page!

Always thought it was a hassle to cross there, down, under, back on yourself and still wait for the traffic.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: ChrisExiledFromStrood on April 20, 2012, 22:10:31
Bit of a different view, from a flight into London City in 2006:
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiler on August 01, 2012, 08:03:13
Great picture numanfan. I think this is looking toward Rochester but not sure as Strood has a building (Whites)very much like the 2nd shop in, confirm please.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: numanfan on August 01, 2012, 15:24:04
Isn't that the Golden Hind weathervane on top of the Corn Exchange in Rochester?

Correct. :) The photographer was looking back towards Rochester.

There is a photograph of the other side of the arch on Kyn's very first post on this topic.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiler on October 15, 2012, 16:28:32
The Coronation Arch (# 55) was never going to be a permanent feature since first erected, so any information on when it came down and what it was made of. It looks like stonework but surely not when it was not there to stay. Wooden framework possibly?
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiler on October 15, 2012, 16:52:53
Think I've found the answer, I've just realised the arch was on the old bridge that came down in 1911 so must have been between 1902 and 1911, as it took three years to build the new bridge that was completed in 1914.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: GP on October 15, 2012, 19:24:32
Her is a link to the Rochester Bridge Trust website.

http://www.rbt.org.uk


Worth a visit, some interesting info  !!
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: scintilla on October 22, 2012, 13:07:25
Another illustration of Rochester Bridge (date unknown).

Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiler on May 08, 2013, 09:44:21
(http://i1018.photobucket.com/albums/af310/smiler2/kent/scan00013.png) (http://s1018.photobucket.com/user/smiler2/media/kent/scan00013.png.html)
   Rochester Bridge was demolished by the Royal Engineers using gunpowder in November 1856.Colonel Sandham. commanding officer assisted in the demolition by experimenting with his mining and blasting techniques.The engineers worked alongside miners to put 500 lbs of gunpowder at the base of each of the piers, arches and abutments, when ready a bugler sounded the signal for several thousand tons of masonary to come down into the river, where barges stood by to remove the surplus stone and material.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Leofwine on May 08, 2013, 14:20:09
Interesting to compare that image to the photos of the demolition here: http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=8575.msg106965#msg106965
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on January 24, 2014, 14:44:04
The Roman bridge across the Medway was built soon after the Roman conquest of AD 43 to carry Watling Street, the main Roman road from Richborough and Canterbury, across the Medway to London and beyond.
The bridge continued in use until 1381, when it fell into disrepair and was replaced by a new bridge 100 yards upstream.
See the Roman Bridge, Rochester Bridge Trust, @ http://www.rbt.org.uk/bridges/roman.htm (http://www.rbt.org.uk/bridges/roman.htm)
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Admiral D Ascoyne on September 11, 2014, 15:46:53
Some photos from the Bridge Trust (not sure if I've already posted)
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiffy on November 16, 2014, 17:19:53
A darkly amusing anecdote pertaining to the sometimes appalling state of repair that the old wooden bridge was in, prior to the completion of the stone bridge around 1391:

"Tis known for truth, yet very strange, that a gentleman, being a little merrie with wine, came over Rochester Bridg on horseback in the dark of the evening, there being but a plank laid over betwixt two arches, with small railes for foot folks only: He not knowing of it, nor his horse making no stop, when he came to his inne, the man bad him welcome, and wondering to see him there, asked him how and which way he came into the town. The gentleman replyed, 'Over the Bridg.' 'Tis impossible,' said his host, ' for a horse to come over.' The other defended it. Next morning the Gentleman and his Host went to the Bridg, and he, seeing the height of it from the water, the narrownesse of the planke, and the greatness of the water, fell down dead immediately, and could not be recovered."


From the History of Strood, 1899 by Henry Smetham.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: BygoneMedway on January 24, 2015, 14:06:53
A look into the Rochester Bridge archives.

http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/update/2015-01-21/video-a-look-into-the-rochester-bridge-archives/
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Lyn L on January 24, 2015, 15:27:15
Thanks BygoneMedway that was very interesting  :)
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Rochester-bred on January 26, 2015, 09:10:56
Would someone be able to post a recent picture of the bridge and mark where the old bridge that was demolished was please? Thank you.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on August 06, 2015, 22:23:31
The Victorian cast iron Rochester Bridge was designed by Sir William Cubbitt, the bridge had three arches and a swing section at the Strood end.
The bridge was officially declared open on the 13th August 1856.

photos dated 1856.
© IWM (Q 69860) Royal Engineers constructing the bridge. In the foreground is the cast iron roller path, 30 feet in diameter, for the swing portion of the bridge.
© IWM (Q 69810) Royal Engineers constructing the bridge at Rochester.
 
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: peterchall on August 07, 2015, 13:13:42
It’s interesting that the bridge was built by Royal  Engineers and not a civilian contractor.

Does anyone know how the swing section was powered? Presumably tn was pivted at the Strood end and swung to the north.

So far as I can determine the first railway bridge was built in 1892, which means that:
1)   The railway bridge was far enough to the north to allow the road bridge to open, and also had a swing section, or
2)   The swing facility was no longer in use.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: merc on August 07, 2015, 13:34:32
In my Rochester Bridge Trust book it sayes "at the Strood end of the Victorian bridge was a swing bridge, that was so delicately balanced that even though the total weight was 300 tonnes, two men could rotate it with ease 90 degrees upwards in just five minutes..."

However, as far as I know the swing bridge wasn't used and the winding gear was removed in the 1890's.

Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Sentinel S4 on August 07, 2015, 13:53:35
The London, Chatham and Dover Railway threw a bridge across in 1860.

S4.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: peterchall on August 07, 2015, 15:46:24
Oops – I’m not very bright lately. It’s obvious that a swing bridge can’t pivot at one end! Terminology again – I would have called it a lifting bridge. Thanks Merc.

And thanks S4. I don’t imagine the LCDR bridge had a lifting section, so the lifting section of the road bridge would have been usable for only 4 years. Presumably it was to allow for the passage of boats whose masts couldn't be lowered.

I have vague memories of seeing bundles of straw hanging under the lifting section. Any ideas?
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Sentinel S4 on August 07, 2015, 16:20:19
I believe there was a moveable section in both railway bridges.

S4.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiffy on August 07, 2015, 16:25:42
Sentinel is correct. The 1865 OS shows a drawbridge on both road and railway. I doubt that the later Railway bridge had one, though.


Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: ChrisExiledFromStrood on August 09, 2015, 15:19:54
Be aware that "drawbridge" on old plans doesn't necessarily mean "lifts at one end", like everyone's idea of a castle drawbridge. It could just mean that it could be "drawn back" so to speak.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: merc on August 09, 2015, 18:57:16
I think the IWM photo's several posts back were mislabled. The photo's were probably taken by the Royal Engineers, but I don't think the Royal Engineers themselves had anything to do with the construction of the 1856 (road) bridge, just the demolition of the old bridge...

Article from the Illustrated London News - August 30, 1856:

Rochester New Bridge - (To the editor of the London Illustrated News.)
My attention has this day been drawn to your report of the opening of the new bridge at Rochester, in which it is stated that "the engineer selected for the erection of the structure was Sir William Cubitt ; and the contractors, Messrs. Fox and Henderson." In justice to all parties concerned, I beg leave to supply an omission which, doubtless accidentally, occurs in this statement. Messrs. Fox and Henderson's contract comprised the foundations and piers up to the springing of the arches : and my firm contracted for the whole of the superstructure, including the swing-bridge. The masonry was executed by for us by Messrs. Lucas Brothers to our entire satisfaction, and fully sustain their high reputation for good work. I am, Sir, your obedient servant, A. B. Cochrane.- Inverness, Aug 21,1856

Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: peterchall on August 10, 2015, 08:10:58
There is a chamber below the Strood end of the bridge, where it abuts the opening section, clearly shown in the link at Reply#60:

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=8575.msg123839#msg123839

That probably housed the manually operated mechanism for raising the opening section, with its balance weight. So it seems that it was pivoted at the bridge end.

But the plan of both opening sections, three posts above, suggests the railway bridge was pivoted at the shore end and, remarkably, was not aligned with the road section. It looks as if the effective opening was only about half the length of each lifting span, although probably still adequate for the size of boats using it.

I wonder what that chamber is used for now – could the lifting mechanism still be there?
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: merc on August 10, 2015, 17:15:31
The swing-bridges 'turn' rather than lift.

"The clear passage for ships is 50 feet, and the bridge spans the whole space, turning on a ring of iron 30 feet diameter"
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: peterchall on August 10, 2015, 17:54:23
Looking at Smiffy’s plan (Reply#76) the road bridge would swing anti-clockwise about its bridge end, and the radius of its end clearly would allow this. About half its length is over the pivot and about half is ‘overhang’. It would end up pointing upstream.

The rail bridge would be similar, but pivoted about its shore end, swinging anti-clockwise to end up facing downstream, although the radius does not seem to ‘fit’ as well as for the road bridge.

The overhangs are less in proportion to the total length than they first appear, so perhaps it’s not so much ‘silly me’ after all. But terminology arises again – I wouldn’t call them ‘Draw Bridges’. And it contradicts Merc's book at Reply#72! But that answers my question - the winding gear is NOT still there!
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: mikeb on August 10, 2015, 18:31:00
I am sure I have read somewhere, but for the life of me cannot now find it, that the "swing or draw" opening section was required by the Admiralty. Also it was very seldom used because the vast majority of trade above the bridge was conducted by sailing barge and they preferred to "shoot" the bridge thereby avoiding paying the fee for having the bridge opened. The fee for a "shuffler" to assist in lowering the barge's gear was cheaper than having the bridge opened, and quicker!

Meanwhile I will continue to search for my source.............
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: DaveTheTrain on August 10, 2015, 21:24:07
I have been looking at this picture for a while now and it does not strike me as quite right.  If you zoom in on the pedestrian with push chair that looks distinctly later than the  age of the photo... or is it just me?
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=8575.0;attach=16359;image
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: Nemo on August 10, 2015, 21:37:58
Mike: www.rbt.org.uk/bridges/victorian.htm maybe?
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiffy on August 10, 2015, 23:16:41
Regarding peterchall's post it looks like this would correspond to the open position of both bridges.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: mikeb on August 10, 2015, 23:36:37
Nemo, thanks, spot on.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: peterchall on August 11, 2015, 08:33:47
Smiffy, that’s exactly what I had in mind. Thanks.

The third paragraph of Nemo’s link describes the roller path and also an 11 inch diameter screw for elevating the centre of the apparatus. All I can think of is that the whole swinging section was raised a few inches to lift the ‘free’ end off whatever it rested on. Any other ideas?
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: merc on August 11, 2015, 23:38:12
A few more bits of info here: http://www.rbt.org.uk/bridges/oldhist.htm

(Sorry if it's already been covered)
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on September 14, 2015, 23:08:52
Watercolour by John Wykeham Archer, 1855.
In the middleground is the medieval bridge built in 1387-91. The derelict remains in the foreground and in the river are, I think, the remains of the Roman/Saxon bridge?
The current roadbridge is built on the line of the Roman/Saxon bridge.

© Trustees of the British Museum. Museum number 1874,0314.456.
Rochester Bridge and Castle; arched bridge to right crossing Medway River, with ruins of castle to right among trees, tower of cathedral to left in distant, barges on river in foreground. 1855 Watercolour.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: merc on December 18, 2015, 15:49:07
https://www.ice.org.uk/news/knowledge/december/mystery-chambers-of-rochester-bridge
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiffy on November 07, 2017, 21:11:36
View of the old bridge from the Strood side looking toward Rochester. Painting believed to date from around 1730.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: conan on November 08, 2017, 00:13:11
Same view today

(https://i.imgur.com/euK6xnWl.jpg)

Looks like a lot of lamps on the old bridge, too early for gas, must have been oil, the only oil I know available back then for lighting was, unfortunately, whale oil, also like what appears to be a woman with a spinning wheel in lower left hand side.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: davpott on November 08, 2017, 15:47:35
Same view today

Not quite....the medieval bridge was a little downstream of the current bridge.

The same view would look more like this.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: davpott on November 08, 2017, 17:07:59
That should be upstream ie towards Maidstone not downstream. 
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiffy on November 08, 2017, 18:43:49
There is an amusing little detail in this painting - notice that the dog seems to be looking at something. If you follow it's eyeline up and to the left you can see the object of its attention - what appears to be the face of a cat looking straight at the artist. :)

Also, does anyone have any idea what the two women are carrying? They look to me like they may be carpet beaters.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: davpott on November 08, 2017, 21:51:43
View of the old bridge from the Strood side looking toward Rochester. Painting believed to date from around 1730.

Looking at the Rochester Bridge Trust website seems to suggest the painting it is more likely to be 1830.

"..... river traffic and the road traffic increased steadily, and in the late 18th century the Wardens and Assistants of Rochester Bridge extensively modernised the bridge. They widened the roadway from 14 to 26 feet and added a footpath on either side. They reduced the width of the starlings, so that larger boats and barges could pass through the arches; and most importantly they removed the sixth pier from the Strood side, along with the adjacent arch and drawbridge, and replaced it with a large central arch. The programme of refurbishment and modernisation of the stone bridge was completed in 1824."
http://www.rbt.org.uk/bridges/historical-bridges/the-medieval-bridge/  accessed 8 Nov 2017
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiffy on November 09, 2017, 00:46:29
Yes, I wasn't really convinced of the suggested date. Looking at the clothing I'd be more inclined to go for the late 18th century, sometime after the footpaths were added.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: conan on November 09, 2017, 13:51:59
That explains the lamps on the bridge as well,
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiffy on January 31, 2018, 22:21:01
Photograph of one of the ornamental cast-iron lamp pillars with the original gas lamps. This, along with the pedestals and parapet, were supplied by Walter MacFarlane & Co of Glasgow.
Title: Re: Rochester Bridge
Post by: smiffy on February 01, 2018, 16:26:30
One of the (now somewhat stunted) terminal pillars in its original form, supplied by the same company.