Lattice footbridge, Rope Street
It was constructed here in 1904 when the lock was extended to handle larger ships. It still crosses the lock of Greenland Dock, where it was originally located. Although the lock gates, the granite steps and the hydraulic gear have been preserved, the lock is now blocked off and vessels now enter and depart Greenland Dock via Steel Yard Cut, the linking channel between Greenland Dock and South Dock. The bridge was renovated in 1987 and still looks good. It is Grade II listed.
A magnificent structure, the bridge is one of the best features of Greenland Dock. It was not fixed in its position. Its two parts could be swung to each side when tall ships needed to pass through the lock. It was operated by vast hydraulic jiggers, which are still preserved today, although it no longer functions. The swing bridge was opened and closed by high pressure water through pistons in the cylinder equipment. They are still in position in the pits next to the bridge on each side.
Steel Yard Cut Swing Bridge
|Steel Yard Cut Swing Bridge|
Known as "Iron Henry" Grissell (1817-1883) started his working life as an apprentice to the Bramah iron casting and metal working company, before establishing his own business in the early 1840s. The company, which Henry Grissell established with his brother Martin at the Regent's Canal Ironworks, built bridges for clients all over the world, and made the the gates and railings at Buckingham Palace and the British Museum.
Here's what Southwark's Planning Department has to say about the bridge:
Swing footbridge. 1862. Designed and manufactured by Henry Grissell (a renowned ironmaster). Relocated here in mid C20 from the Surrey entrance basin. A distinctive stayed cantilever design (unusual in metal bridges) with arched span in wrought-iron, stayed by iron rods to cast-iron counterweight. Hand operating gear remains, although an oil hydraulic mechanism added in 1980s.
Scherzer rolling bascule lift bridges
|The Greenland Dock Scherzer rolling bascule lift bridge|
The bascule bridge at the end of Greenland Dock was originally at Deptford Creek (this photograph on the City of London Collage website appears to show it in action at its old location) and was moved here in 1959 to replace the wooden bridge that was here previously. Its twin is still in situ in its original location at the Thames entrance to Surrey Water (next to the Old Salt Quay public house).
You have to love something that's called a "Scherzer rolling bascule lift bridge" even if you don't know what on Earth it means. And it is a magnificent beast. "Scherzer" refers to William Scherzer who pioneered a particular design of bascule bridges in the US. The term "bascule" refers to bridges that open and close with a system of counterweights that balance the bridge continuously as the bridge rises and falls. The whole bridge used to swing upwards on its rocker. There's a lovely advert from 1913 on the Historic Bridges site showing how it operated: http://www.historicbridges.org/illinois/mcdonough/ad_large.jpg. Tower Bridge is a bascule bridge, but not of the Scherzer variety.
Norway Cut Swing Bridge
|Norway Cut Swing Bridge|
Heading back around the dock towards the Thames once more, and passing the old inlet to Russia Dock and the Grand Surrey Canal, the final bridge on the circuit is the Norway Cut Swing Bridge.
It was designed by dock engineer James Walker in 1855 and was built by Walker, Burges & Cooper. Its first home was at the lock entrance to South Dock. It was moved to the Norway Cut in 1987 and it, like the the other bridges around Greenland Dock, no longer moves. It is set into two of its original granite plinths either side of the blocked off access channel (or "cut" or "cutting") to the former Norway Dock (now a development known as The Lakes). Of you click to see the larger image, you can clearly see the gap int he middle of the bridge where the two halves meet. It was manually powered, unlike many of the later bridges of the period, which were powered by hydraulics. There is a round plaque providing a few details about the bridge.
|James Walker by |
Wrought-iron plates and angles. Based on cast-iron precedents but owes its elegant lightness to use of wrought-iron with countersunk rivet heads, an early surviving example of riveted ironwork in bridges. Some welded steelwork discretely added in refurbishment. Original granite kerbs and paving reinstated at the new site.
The English Heritage description also says that it is the second oldest bridge in Docklands, but somewhat frustratingly doesn't say which the oldest is!
A sculpture of James Walker is located near to the Moby Dick.
|Rotherhithe in 1906. Greenland Dock is the long dock|
at the right of the image (with the shorter
South Dock at the far right).
As usual, my thanks to Stuart Rankin's excellent work for much of the information in this post (see the bibliography page). The photographs are mine.