Yorkshire nostalgia: bridging the waters of history

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On this day in 1909, there was an account in the Yorkshire Post of the history of York Bridge, which stretched back over 1,000 years, the first account being the collapse of the first bridge in 1154.

Addressing York Archaeological Society Dr W H Evelyn said the Ouse Brigge at York was described by the historian William Camden (1551–1623) as “the mightiest he ever saw”.

Dr Evelyn recounted how the first bridge had collapsed dramatically under the great weight of the crowds which came to see the return of St William, Archbishop of York, on his return from Rome.

Its replacement bridge carried no fewer than 48 shops, tenements and houses, in addition to St William’s Chapel, the City Hall, the felon’s prison, a toll booth and a wayside hospital known as a maison d’ieu.

That bridge was destroyed in January 12, 1564 by a flood caused by a sudden thaw, the resulting deluge carrying away the central arches, upon which were built 12 houses with 12 people drowning.

These two arches were replaced by the famous single arch, which at the time was claimed to be unparalleled in England and in Europe was only equalled by the Rialto Bridge.

He also gave details of the wages paid to ‘free mason’ Chris Walmisley, who received 6s 8d wages a week for building it, while the ‘chief mason’ received 5s 8d.

There was also an article from The Motor Union discussing how best motorists should overtake trams. The question vexing motor car drivers at the time was whether to overtake slow moving trams on the inside or outside.

After much deliberation, it was decided drivers of cars would be best overtaking on the off-side.