2 thoughts on “Opening of Victoria Bridge – 1887

  1. Captured in time, a momentary unsteadiness for the girl standing in her father’s horse-drawn trap as she clings to her mother? Just what is the polished item in the back of the 2nd horse n’ buggy awaiting to cross the bridge? A milk churn? Large lantern? Certainly, the Landlord of ‘The Alexander’ has no concerns regarding ‘health and safety’ issues, as he allows his regulars to freely clamber from the 1st floor windows in order to gain a better view of the opening ceremony. In a contemporary view of a similar ceremony or public gathering, it would be difficult to ‘spot’ one individual wearing headwear, in this picture it’s incredibly difficult to spot one without! Those privileged to be awarded a seat in the high ‘grandstand’, erected at the midpoint of the bridge, must also have enjoyed a breezy but phenomenal view down the river Tees. Though a ‘shadow’ of Thornaby town-hall clock tower is perhaps just visible in the distance, where is the huge ‘Bridge Hotel’ which stood at the bridge’s approach on the Yorkshire side of the river? Was this not erected simultaneously with the bridge? Or is it just out of ‘shot’? A fascinating photograph, which displays the great interest and sense of pride that ordinary people once took in the civic development of their town. These days, ‘ordinary’ people usually stay at home and possibly watch a 30 second film-clip on local television news, reserving their personal sense of interest for only sport, or the ‘celeb’ lifestyle. Cynical? Or, is it that times and circumstances simply change?

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  2. Great photo. The building on left was ‘the Alexander’ public house, it was renamed a few times. In the 1980s it was ‘the Teessider’ and played host to groups on monday nights.

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