|Location Map ( geo)|
Gunthorpe Bridge lies on the River Trent between Nottingham and Newark, and is the only crossing point between these two towns. It carries the A6097 which provides a connection between A46 and A614 and thence northwards to A1 and so avoiding Newark.
There has been a crossing at Gunthorpe since the Danes established a ferry crossing here. This ferry was mentioned in the Domesday book.
To replace the ferry, The Gunthorpe Bridge Co. raised £7,500 in £10 shares, laid the foundation stone in 1873 and completed the largely iron structure in 1875. In 1925 the toll to cross was 1/- for cars, 2/6 for lorries and 6d for a horse and cart.
This bridge was only capable of carrying loads of about 6 tons at reduced speed and could not be adapted for the class and volume of traffic that was required. The approaches and gradients were also unsuitable and inconvenient. Hence the construction of a new bridge.
The current bridge was built in 1925-27, after Nottinghamshire County Council bought the old bridge, rights, interest and site for £9,500 from the Gunthorpe Bridge Co., and built a more substantial structure on an alignment 433 yards to the west. The new bridge was designed to carry 60 tons and was toll free.
The bridge and 1.75 miles of new approach roads (bypassing Gunthorpe and East Bridgford) were opened on 17 November 1927 by Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII. In declaring the bridge open he said that, in view of the increase in motor traffic, it was money well spent and he congratulated the County Council on the completion of the work. The Prince proceeded on foot through a throng of cheering people to a retiring room at the Unicorn Inn prior to attending luncheon in a big marquee opposite the inn. Two commemorative tablets were unveiled by the Duke of Portland.
The contractors were Messrs. Purdie, Lumsden and Co. Ltd., Newcastle for the bridge and Messrs. H. Coxhead and Co. Ltd., Middlesborough for the approach roads. The bridge was constructed of reinforced concrete with reconstructed stone facings and balustrading. A greater part of the material for the bridge and embankments was dredged from the River Trent and 130,000 tons was obtained for the embankments alone. The scheme had provided work for 120 men for 2 years. Cost was £125,000 of which Ministry of Transport contributed 65%.
The old toll bridge was then demolished.