The Other Humber Bridge

I wonder how many Barton people among the Visitors to the Waterside Bridge Viewing point know that had it not been for the precarious state of the Nation's Finances in 1930 they could well have been looking at a different sort of bridging altogether!
Many would be surprised to learn that at that time, if one looked to the East from the Point, then beyond the Haven mouth the first thing to note would have been the Farmers Co. Ltd Jetty. This was very strongly build and consisted of 1 2 or 14 heavy doubled wooden piles in 2 rows. Heavy beams across the tops of opposite pilings carried a double 3-plank width road from the 'gap' to the main bank out into the river. Sloops, keels, motorised vessels moored to this, there was a small derrick used for handling a very heavy thick board plank, a 'baulk', which ran from the jetty end to the planks placed across the holds of the barges. This derrick was not used in the unloading. Gangs of men hoisted, 'whipped', baskets of heavy material from the holds to be barrowed ashore into the factory. The middle planks of the runs along the jetty had substantial lengths of iron running down the centres. Such was the weight of the loads carried on the iron wheeled barrows that unprotected planks would have been damaged. This unloading is a story in itself.
BUT if Parliament had gone ahead with the Hull City Councils proposals for a Bridge they would have seen a multi-span bridge just 120 yards beyond the FCL site, this was to have run from Barrow Road, the A1077, in Barton to Hessle. It was a 16 span Bridge borne on 15 Piers 10 of which were on the South, Barton side. These piers were 265 feet apart with a headway, giving a clearance, of 70 ft. The majority of the spans were on the South side because of the distance from the only useable road to the low water mark. It also maintained a gradual lift from the road to the Centre higher span. This main Span was sited over what was thought to be the main channel; it had a clearance of 80 ft and was 365 ft in width. This span and the two adjacent ones had a superstructure to carry the load and stress of the extra width. The others were of level girders. From the centre spans the other piers ran on a shallow slope to the Hessle shore.
May I draw attention to that excellent publication - The Official Directory and Guide to Barton-on-Humber - this gives a succinct account of the History of Barton. In my opinion it provides a firm base from which anyone wishing to learn more about the Town may proceed. It is Good Value! There is much in it about the trade of the Town and the Ferries and it follows that anyone seeking to write about bridging the River has to make reference to other means of crossing this, at times, quite dangerous stretch of tidal water.
There are some excellent publications about the Humber Ferries and the spread of the Railway systems. I do not propose to go into detail but suffice it to say that by the end of the 19th Century there was growing pressure for a regular, reliable and affordable means of crossing the River. Traders and Councils presumably felt that the Railways were holding them to ransom, naturally they wanted a cheaper service, not dependent upon the vagaries of the weather. Schemes for tunnels were mooted in the late 19th Century, the Railway Companies built a wooden pier at New Holland for steam paddle boats, in the early 1920's they build the present Pier structure of caissons to carry railway lines to the Pier head. Many in Barton and District will have heard of family members who worked in the compressed air in these caissons. George Cressey who lived the 'Row' at Sandersons brickyard in Barrow Haven used to speak of the severe nosebleeds suffered by the workmen due to that pressure.In the late 1920's Hull City Council, supported by the East Riding CC and Lindsey CC, put forward a Bill to Parliament asking for approval and finance for a multi-span 'TOLL' Bridge to be build from Barton to Hessle. Fox & Partners were the Consulting Engineers; interestingly enough a Mr Freeman was one on the Engineers involved! The estimated cost was 1,725,000. Other options were Railway Tunnels, 4,600,000. Road Tunnels 7,200,000 and a combination Road/Rail 4,000,000. No contest was there at that price. Test bores were carried out along the Barton side, lost of water was found at 25ft and I feel sure the depth of the silt and clays gave the Consultants pause for thought.

Information kindly supplied by Mr. Charles Watkinson, 8 Castledyke South, Barton

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2001 Dazxtm