Monkwearmouth Station Museum, Tyne and Wear
1600 – 1799
Wearmouth Bridge was considered the technological wonder of its age when it opened in 1796.
A bridge was needed to ease the crossing of the River Wear in Sunderland. Only ferries were available and in times of flood this made crossing the river very dangerous. The problem was how to span the approximately 30 metre gorge without spending too much money or spanning the river at bank level and blocking its use by ships.
The answer was the bold use of a relatively new material for civil engineering, cast iron. The proposed method was to imitate the technique of using stone blocks. An Act of Parliament was obtained and the bridge was built without closing the river once to the passage of ships, demonstrating to the world the potential of iron in engineering.
This model was made as a clock by Mr G.R.Taylor for the Great Exhibition of 1851.
By Mr G.R.Taylor
On display at Monkwearmouth Station Museum
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