Report - - The Tees Newport Bridge – Middlesbrough – December 2015 | High Stuff | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - The Tees Newport Bridge – Middlesbrough – December 2015

mockney reject

Staff member
The History

The Tees Newport Bridge is a vertical-lift bridge spanning the River Tees a short distance upriver from Tees Transporter Bridge, linking Middlesbrough with the borough of Stockton-On-Tees, in the northeast of England. It was completed in 1934.

Designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson and built by local company Dorman Longwho have also been responsible for such structures as the Tyne Bridge and Sydney Harbour Bridge, it was the first large vertical-lift bridge in Britain.

The bridge was inaugurated by the then Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI) and opened to traffic on 28 February 1934. Constructed around twin 55 m (180 ft) lifting towers, the 82 m (269 ft) bridge span, weighing 2,700 tonnes, could be lifted by the use of two 325 H.P. electric motors at 16 m (52 ft) per minute to a maximum height of 37 m (121 ft). In the event of motor failure a standby 450 H.P. petrol engine could be employed to move the bridge, but should both systems fail it was possible to raise or lower the span manually using a winch mechanism. It was estimated in 1963 by Mr R. Batty, long time Bridge Master at Newport Bridge, that "it would take 12 men eight hours" to complete the movement by hand.

Originally, 12 men would have been employed to man the bridge around the clock, usually requiring four to drive it at any one time. This was accomplished from the oak-panelled winding house situated midway along the bridge span. During the 1940s and early 1950s this would occur up to twice a day with an average of 800 vessels per year passing under it, but in the 1940s it was hard because of the war however, as the number of ships needing to sail up to Stockton-On-Tees declined, so did the usage of the bridge.

Legal requirement to lift the bridge for shipping traffic was removed in 1989 after the repeal of a Parliamentary Act. Before mechanical decommissioning Mr Ian MacDonald who worked on the bridge from 1966, finally as Bridge Master, supervised the final lift on 18 November 1990.

The Tees Newport Bridge still serves as a road bridge, carrying considerable traffic as a section of the A1032, despite the presence of the A19 Tees Viaduct a short distance upriver. In recent years it was repainted in its original green and some minor maintenance took place on the wire ropes and counterbalances which still take the majority of the bridge load. In 1985 the bridge was given Grade II Listed Building status.

Work started in July 2014 to paint the bridge Red and Silver to mark its 80th anniversary. The work was originally planned to take 6 weeks, but was completed behind schedule and over-budget in October 2015. The main cause for the delay was that the bridge had not been maintained by Stockton Council for 15 years, and much of the steel work was in a poor condition.

The Explore

@slayaaaa spotted this one on google earth while we were looking for the transporter bridge. It wasn’t far from where we were staying so we decided to hit it up too.

As said in the history the bridge was repainted from green to its original red and grey a few months back. This caused us a bit of head scratching the day after we climbed it as we were convinced we had climbed a green bridge in the dark, only to be confused when we went back for some daytime shots and it was red. While taking the day shots an old boy who had worked on the bridge stopped and chatted to us for a bit about it. It seemed he had great sentiment for the bridge and had lots of stories to tell.

The actual climb of the bridge was pretty mad as we did it in fairly high winds and went up the pretty much vertical ladders on the main uprights of the bridge. The night time pictures are a bit crappy due to the high winds blowing both ourselves around and our camera gear.

Enjoy the pics






















28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nice pics :thumb

Yeah it"s a funny colour scheme now that"s for sure :confused: I was looking at it the other week expecting it too be Red/White & Blue as that was suggested originally i believe ? (or maybe i dreamt it :)

Certainly one giant Meccano box of bits to construct this old girl. I"ve admired the engineering on many occasions. It"s a busy Bridge...both above & below at certain times ;)


28DL Memb3r
28DL Full Member
As said in the history the bridge was repainted from green to its original red and grey a few months back.
you were right earlier when you said green was the original. (it then was another colour or 2 then went back to green, and now the red and silver). -just letting you know so the history stays right, you've put a lot of history there so it will likely get (mis)quoted elsewhere.

I do like the new colour scheme, it highlights its features well.

It often gets windy up there, props for doing it with the current weather conditions.


Regular User
Great stuff, I remember watching it being raised for the last time and also have fond memories of chucking sofas and all manner of shit into the big drop incinerator / tip next door (now demolished)