Opening of Victoria Bridge – 1887

Crowds gathered together on the 20th June 1887 to watch as his Worship J Richardson Esq. Mayor of Stockton officially opened the Victoria Bridge. This bridge replaced the earlier five-arched bridge. Permission was granted from Queen Victoria to use her name.

4 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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    • It looks like the Bridge Hotel that you mention was built after Victoria Bridge was completed. When the Bridge Hotel was built it was practically on top of the foundations of the old Stockton Bridge, which was just to the north of Victoria Bridge. Both bridges must have been in existence for a period of time. So there must have been a delay in building the hotel to allow for the construction of Victoria Bridge and the demolition of the old bridge. There was an earlier Bridge Hotel which was just to the north of the old bridge, but this would be obscured in this photo by the Alexander Hotel.

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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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    • I’ve seen a 1952 photo when it was called The Alexandra Hotel. I wonder if they just got the sign repainted to replace the “er” with “ra” 🙂

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