Film ID:
NEFA 22037



Visitor Tabs


Incomplete Tyne Tees Television news report for Northern Life broadcast on 20 September 1976 about the closure of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge until funds are raised for repairs. The item is mainly a piece to camera with the Transporter Bridge in the background, but contains some general views of the bridge. Report by Peter Holland.

Peter Holland introduces the news report in a piece to camera: ‘The giant Meccano-like structure spanning the 900 yards between Middlesbrough and Port Clarence cost £84,000 to build 65 years ago. It could take almost twice as much to get it operating again.’ General view of the bridge.

The commentary continues: ‘The cradle, which around almost 1500 vehicles and 1300 pedestrians use a day, came to a halt after the steel rails at the top were found to be cracked.’

General views of the Transporter Bridge with Peter Holland in voice-over: ‘The big question mark is whether it’s a final halt. It costs a penny a person, and 5 pence a car, to make the crossing. Cleveland Transit, the local authority bus company, are still charging a penny for the 5 mile road trip from one side to the other. So, that’s costing the rate payer an extra £1350 a week in subsidies.’

Holland talks about the problems of finding the money to foot the bill. He talks about the proposed Tees Tunnel, and the possibility of a ferry service in the interim.

‘The people of Middlesbrough have a love-hate relationship with the bridge. It’s a sort of mascot, it’s easily the most recognisable landmark for miles around, or it’s an inefficient, antiquated piece of equipment that has no place in a modern transport system. Of the three Transporter bridges built in Britain, it’s the only one left. It survived German bomb damage in the war, two serious fires in 1948 ad 1950, and countless storms, but can it weather the current financial climate. It could cost up to half a million pounds to pull it through. But it would also cost many thousands of pounds in maintenance just to keep it up as a non-working master museum exhibit.’