Whitby Swing Bridge

Whitby Swing Bridge is 100 years old on August 8th 2009. The image above is a live feed from a webcam situated over Whitby’s Swing Bridge, Whitby, Great Britain. Whitby is divided in two by the river and there had to be some way to cross. This was the swing bridge which opened for shipping. There is now an additional road bridge. The main street of the old East side of Whitby is Church Street, which has cottages to one side and the river to the other. At the swing bridge it becomes a cobbled pedestrian street with houses and shops on both sides. Off of Church Street are many small snickets with intriguing names such as Saltpanwell Steps which house pretty fisherman’s cottages. The swing bridge which joins the two communities East and West of the river Esk together, has been the scene of rivalry in the earlier part of this century, where gangs of youths would contest the bridge with ” t`other side o` watter dogs ”. The original bridge was first mentioned in 1351 and used to lie to the South of the present one, roughly aligned with Baxtergate. Centuries ago, houses on wooden piles overhung the river above and below the bridge. A block of early 18th century buildings on the south side was demolished in 1975. The present swing bridge was built in 1909 and is electrically operated. The bridge opens on the hour and half hour on request on VHF channel 11 and is manned for two hours either side of high water. While on duty the bridge operatives maintain a listening watch on VHF channels 11 and 16. The first opening will be as soon as practical two hours before high water and the final opening will be 10 minutes prior to two hours after high water. The bridge spans 75ft and each section can be operated independently swinging horizontally. Whitby is a working port, and opposite the amusements you can see the fishing boats bring in their catches and watch the fishermen attend to their nets.

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