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Canning Dock Swing Bridge
Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
associated engineer
Jesse Hartley
date  1846
era  Victorian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  SJ340899
ICE reference number  HEW 1391
Canning Dock Swing Bridge carried a footway across the channel between Canning Dock and Canning Half-tide Dock. It was rebuilt as part of Liverpool's docks regeneration in the 1980s. Though not in use, the bridge is retained as static exhibit for visitors to the popular dockside development.
Jesse Hartley was engineer to the Liverpool Dock Trustees from 1824 until his death in 1860 — at a salary of 3,500 per year. During his tenure he increased the docks area seven fold, almost quadrupling the water space. He was sometimes criticised for over-engineering his structures, but maintained that reliability led to longevity — perhaps why so much of his work on the docks exists today.
The wooden swing bridge was probably built using direct labour, and spans the 13.5m wide passage between the two Canning docks. The centrelines of its two leaves measure 15.75m (south) and 12.2m (north) long. Each leaf comprises longitudinal main tapering timbers, spaced apart by transverse scantlings to which the pitch pine decking is spiked.
It was rebuilt in 1984 with new timber members, but the original wrought iron stays and handrails were retained. It has been used on special occasions since refurbishment. However, its handrails do not comply with current safety regulations so it is now displayed fixed in the open position.
The footbridge became a Grade II listed structure on 19th June 1985.
Research: ECPK
"Obituary: John Bernard Hartley" [includes a memoir of Jesse Hartley]
ICE Proceedings, Vol.33, pp.216-223, London, January 1872
reference sources   CEH NorthBDCE2

Canning Dock Swing Bridge