It’s been 50 years since the original ‘tubular’ railway bridge burned down, so this year there has been much talk about this iconic piece of civil engineering, designed by Robert Stephenson and opened in 1850.
When you stand under the bridge today, looking up at the gigantic steel arches, it’s shocking to realise just how much change occurred during the post-fire rebuilding. These steel arches never existed before. The concrete decks that now hold a highway, were not there before. The original wrought iron tubes are no longer there. The only original structures are the towers themselves. And yet whenever I think of this bridge I still imagine it’s been there forever.