The English Bridge
The English Bridge in Shrewsbury, crosses the river Severn and is thought to have been built around 1770 on the site of a far earlier bridge.
The original Bridge, thought to date back to the Norman era, became known as the Stone Bridge in medieval times. It had a huge gate tower and drawbridge, accommodation for a gatekeeper and his prisoners and a number of houses and shops.
Following this bridges collapse in 1546, under the strain of the great flood an 18th century replacement was built. This bridge was opened in 1774 but had two major problems making it unsuitable for modern traffic. Firstly it was too narrow and secondly it had a large hump in the middle. Originally this would have been designed to allow passing boats to pass underneath.
In the 1920's it was taken down stone by stone and the masonry was carefully numbered to be reused in the new structure. The Bridge was then rebuilt, with a shalower gradient, reducing the orignal gradient by five feet and increasing the width to 26ft.
It is somewhat ironic that the English Bridge was officially opened by a member of the Royal Family passing over it in a coffin. On October 26th 1927 a souvenir programme was produced in anticipation of the royral visit by Edward, the Prince of Wales, who would officially open the Bridge.
However, two days before, on October 24th 1927, the Marquess of Cambridge, Brother to the Queen died, having been taken ill at his home, Shotton Hall, near Harmer Hill.
The visit by the Prince of Wales was subsequently cancelled. However, on October 27th the coffin of the Marquess passed over the bridge which had an honour guard of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry and the Shropshire Yeomanry on its way to Windor for the funeral.
The Welsh Bridge, across the town was built in the 1790's, near the site of the fortified bridge that appears in old paintings of Shrewsbury.