1844: England Gets a New Bridge

August 26, 1844

A newly completed bridge spanning the River Irwell in northwestern England was opened to the public. This bridge serves as a link between the cities of Salford and Manchester. It was named after Prince Albert, Prince Consort of the United Kingdom and the husband of Queen Victoria.

Albert Bridge took the place of a bridge that had been at that location for several decades. That earlier structure was New Bailey Bridge, which had been constructed during the mid-1780s. By 1843, New Bailey Bridge was in such bad condition that a special committee decided to have it torn down and replaced. This committee also agreed to go with the design submitted by engineer George W. Buck for the new bridge.

At the dedication ceremony for Albert Bridge, the first vehicle to cross this stone-and-brick structure was a donkey-drawn cart. That day’s festivities also included music performed by military bands. William Garnett, chairman of the committee that had made Albert Bridge a reality, gave a speech and officially named the structure. Other local dignitaries who addressed those attending the ceremony included Alexander Kay, mayor of Manchester; and William Lockett, mayor of Salford.

Ten days prior to the inauguration of this bridge, a footpath on its northern side was opened to the public. Albert Bridge remains in service today. In 1988, it was formally designated by the British government’s non-departmental public body Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England (also known as Historic England) as a historic structure.

Photo Credit: Stephen Richards / Albert Bridge, Manchester / CC BY-SA 2.0

For more information on Albert Bridge, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Bridge,_Manchester

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