Whitby Swings Open 100 Year Old Bridge

This is a 100 year old view from Whitby’s famous wooden Swing bridge. A centenary celebration of the building of the Swing Bridge and reopening in 1909 will take place on 8th August 2009 between noon and 7.30pm. There will be Bridge decorations, period costumes, indoor photo displays of building work, and a re-enacted Opening ceremony. Whitby does this sort of thing very well so expect Marching bands, static life boat display, street theatre, Sea shanties and a Full sail past with modern and older local traditional craft.

Whitby Pannett Art Gallery is also holding a week long art exhibition featuring the bridge.

The swing bridge joins the two communities East and West of the river Esk together. It has been the scene of rivalry in the earlier part of the last century, where gangs of youths would contest the bridge with ” t`other side o` watter dogs “. Now a days it is drinkers from pubs at either side of the river that contest the quantity of ale to be supped. The original bridge was first mentioned in 1351 and used to lie to the landward side of the present one, roughly aligned with Baxtergate. Centuries ago, houses on wooden piles overhung the river above and below the bridge. Each section of the bridge swings independently and the bridge is staffed 2 hours each side of high tide. Many visitors get to see it in full operation or even queue good naturedly in the resultant traffic.

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