Iron bridges were constructed during the industrial revolution. The first Iron bridge was constructed in 1755 but was abandoned for reasons of cost, and a 22.2 meters span wrought iron footbridge over Ornamental waterways was erected in York-shire in 1769. In 1773, architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard suggested to build a bridge out of cast iron. And the first major iron bridge in the world come to reality. The bridge is constructed over the River Severn in Shropshire, England. It was opened in 1781.
Design of the First Iron Bridge
The iron bridge is built from five cast iron ribs that give a span of 100 feet 6 inches. Exactly 378 tons of cast iron was used in the construction of this unique structure. There were almost 1700 components and all of them were cast individually to fit with each other. Although people painted many paintings of the finished bridge. But no one had any idea for over 200 years that how did this almost 400-ton structure built. But, in 1997 a small sketch by Elias Martin which shows the designs of the bridge was found at Stockholm museum.
Construction of the Bridge
The construction of this Iron Bridge was begun in 1777 and completed in 1779 and it was opened to the public on January 1, 1781.
“it is one arch, a hundred feet broad, fifty-two high and eighteen wide: all of cast iron, weighing many hundred tons. I doubt whether the Colossus at Rhodes weighed much more” –John Wesley, 1779 (Anglican cleric and theologian).
Initially, the construction cost of this bridge was estimated £ 2000, but it took £ 6000 to built this prodigious structure.
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In 1934 this iron bridge was designated a scheduled ancient monument and closed to vehicular traffic. In 1986, it became a UNESCO world’s heritage site and remains an iconic feature of Britain’s industrial past