Film ID:
NEFA 18496



Visitor Tabs


This amateur footage filmed by Eric Lyon between September 1964 and March 1967 shows the various stages of construction of Scotswood Bridge over the River Tyne in the West End of Newcastle, from the laying of the foundations to the laying of the road surface during various seasons of the year. Includes footage of the old Scotswood Chain Bridge in use before construction and what appears to be demolition of the bridge once the new bridge had been opened.

The film opens on the Newcastle side of the old Scotswood Bridge, with traffic crossing, including a Standard 8 and a Wolesely. General views show the bridge spanning the Tyne stretching over to the Gateshead side.

An on site information board gives the following information: 'The New Scotswood Bridge & Approaches, Main Contractors The Mitchell Construction Co Ltd, Structural Steelwork By Dorman Long (Bridge & Engineering) Ltd, Authority Durham County Council & Newcastle Upon Tyne City Council. Consulting Engineers Mott, Hay & Anderson'. Warning signs about road diversions appear on an approach road to the old bridge. Closer views show new road works underway. Workmen are busy on the new road, working by hand but also using a mechanical shovel and a road roller. An excavator creates a ditch or channel for a new drainage system. Ceramic drainage pipes lie in a pile nearby.

On an approach road to the site, there's a warning sign for narrow roads. General views show the layout for the new approach road. Another view of the new road system shows a sign for the construction company, which just reads ‘Mitchell’.

More general views follow of the new road layout and a pile driver at work. A temporary road sign for the A694 at Blaydon has been erected and a crane is at work at the riverside.  A dredger named Hexhamshire Lass makes its way along the river. The camera pans left to show a Mitchell company crane and the steel support structure which secures it.

A mobile crane positions a pile driver, then showing the machine at work. The crane belongs to Scottish Land Development. A mechanical shovel works near part of the new bridge construction. Two workmen position the pile driver on some steel section, which then gets to work pounding the metal into the earth.

A view across the river shows the old Scotswood bridge against the fading sky. General views show mounds of earth obscuring the old bridge, a number of cranes at work on the site. More views follow of the pile driver at work. A workman works from a precarious position to guide the pile driver, suspended from the hook of a crane. An excavator removes spoil from part of the river bed and deposits it in another part of the river.

A number of piers or supports for the new bridge are appearing in the river. A high angle view shows the old bridge alongside these new structures.

A man climbs down the jib of one of the many cranes deployed on the site. A group of men demolish some steps leading to one of the crane platforms. Another crane lifts the driver’s cab clear of the platform.

General views follow of the new concrete supports for the new bridge. Box sections that will support the road deck start appearing between the supports. One of the cranes has printed on the side of the driver’s cabin ‘Dorman Long & Tees-side Bridge’ Other metal supports appear in the river alongside the old bridge.

A cement mixer delivers a load to the new bridge site. General views show scaffolding associated with parts of the new bridge and large pools of water on the muddy site. Traffic threads it’s way through the chaos.

A very wintry view follows, on site water flowing from a pipe in a powerful jet. A mechanical shovel gets to work on piles of earth. A tipper lorry makes a delivery to the site. In the foreground the course of a new section of road can be seen. Asphalt or tarmac is spread on to the road by a special machine and a road roller follows on to complete the process. The road roller goes over a section recently laid by the asphalt spreader.

A mechanical shovel scrapes spoil of an adjacent strip of road, just outside the premises of W. Galloway & Co.Ltd. factory, which makes fastenings and tools. The mechanical shovel continues clearing part of the road and the roller continues with its work nearby. The asphalt spreader is shown at work, moving slowly along its path, the old Scotswood Road bridge in the distance. A road roller carries on its work and two workmen work on the new road surface, a surveyor’s tripod and theodolite stand unattended. More images of a road roller at work follow, a team of men with shovels check on the progress of the road rollers' work. A temporary sign reads ‘Diversion All Traffic’.

With snow on the ground, new concrete supports stand for part of the approach road to the new bridge. A cement mixer makes a delivery to the site. A camera zooms in to a view of the old bridge in the distance. A mechanical shovel goes through manoeuvres, and another delivery of concrete is made.

In very dull weather, the steel supports for the new road deck can be seen. Other concrete structures can be seen the through the scaffolding. In the distance, a building is being demolished. General views show the crisscross pattern of steel reinforcements waiting for new concrete to be poured over them.

General views follow of the stone arch piers of the old bridge, the suspension chains, new concrete structures for the new bridge and a maze of scaffolding. More general views of the old bridge follow, and of tall metal structures secured in the river bed, along with views of concrete supports for the new bridge.

Men guide a crane’s delivery of concrete which is poured into long moulds. Men tamp the concrete down in the mould. General views follow of new concrete supports for the road deck. Wooden supports help to hold up a curved wall made of concrete sections. A crane delivers more concrete in a special hopper, and is man-handled into position. General views show increasing numbers of structures gradually being linked together to create the new bridge. A mass of scaffolding surrounds the construction of a concrete pier. Steel girders are moved into position by cranes. More concrete is delivered by cement mixer to the crane’s concrete hopper. Views show steel girders spanning the gaps between concrete supports on their way to completely spanning the river. General views show workmen on the new deck looking out over the river to where one of the new approach roads is under construction. General views follow of the road deck showing a section which is awaiting concrete.

A view follows from the riverside looking up at the bridge and associated construction works. The old bridge can be seen in the background. The jib of a crane stretches upwards into the sky. Another view shows a long ladder reach up to the road deck past complex scaffolding work. Traffic passes along a road which runs beneath part of the new road deck. General views show part of the road deck supported by scaffolding as it reaches the river bank. This is the point where it will meet up with the main span as it crosses the river. General views follow of the site bathed in sunlight.

A man walks up a steel girder, set at a steep angle, to untie a cable which is attached to the hook of a crane. The film cuts to reflections of the crane in the river. General views show the girders that make up the arch of the bridge, with cranes working below on the deck of the bridge. A view from the bridge shows one of the new approach roads under construction. A close-up follows of traffic traversing the old bridge, followed by views along the length of the new bridge showing the shallow arch of the road deck, and also the steel arch above it. Above the road deck men work on the steel arch.

A lorry appears on site, and an excavator deposits spoil in the back of it. The excavator picks up more debris and deposits it in the lorry. The film cuts to a view of the length of the road deck, followed a view of a pile driver at work at a different part of the site.

General view of the bridge as it approaches completion, with the structure now spanning the river and a new road approach supported on concrete piers. From a high angle, another new approach road is shown under construction. More views follow of a raised section of road deck, where traffic passes underneath.

A crane lifts a girder, and a man manoeuvres the crane’s load into position by hand with another workman's help.

General views follow of the new bridge as the light gradually fades,

Next, a small road roller smoothes out the road surface on the deck of the bridge. Men ahead of the roller help smooth out a load of asphalt or tarmac as it’s tipped from a wheelbarrow. A large machine ahead of the men supplies the heated material to the workers, who come forward with wheelbarrows to collect a new load. Hot smoke and steam emanates from the top of the machine.

General views show the arch of the bridge and approach roads on an overcast day. A mechanical shovel works on land nearby scraping the surface. A sign on a factory building nearby reads ’Slaters’. The new bridge nears completion. General views also show the old bridge. Scaffolding still supports the approach road deck, the new bridge in the distance.

Overhead view of a heavy haulage vehicle from Siddle C Cook of Consett Co. Durham and a crane are moving girders into position, and another approach road is having its surface prepared. Steel structures in the river support part of the main span. A rowing boat passes beneath the bridge, now completed. 

Traffic crosses the new Scotswood Bridge, one lane still closed. The old bridge is now closed and work begins on dismantling it.  A general view shows girders and other debris distributed around the site.

Overhead view of a pump in operation and  traffic now using the new bridge. A sign in the distance reads: ‘Dorman Long’ and another ‘Pedestrian Route’. General views follow of another part of the site on the riverside where a road awaits completion.

The new bridge stands in sunshine. General view of an approach road and arched piers remaining of the old Scotswood bridge, debris strewn around. A Newcastle bus passes beneath an approach road.

A Morris 1100 is parked beside the new road, in the background a sign for Regent petrol signals a roadside petrol station.

Aerial views (very shaky) show that a number of new road layouts are yet to be completed.

Travelling shot for a light aeroplane coming into land at Newcastle Airport ends the film

[In the early 1900s, W. Galloway & Co.Ltd made Stanley steam cars.]