Scarratt, F W
c 1929 ?
About this image
A misty winter's day at Burton upon Trent with the camera looking east from Bridge Street across the Trent (or Burton) Bridge. Pedestrians crossing the bridge are well-wrapped up against the cold, as is the driver of the approaching horse-drawn vehicle, which has just had to circumvent the photographer's parked car, a Bullnose Morris Cowley.
The Trent Bridge seen here was completed in 1864 replacing a medieval structure that followed a different and more sinuous alignment and which was said to be 'the longest, the most ancient, and the most inconvenient structure of its kind in the United Kingdom'. Increasing traffic saw the replacement bridge doubled in width in 1926 by extending it on the north (left-hand) side and this extension is apparent here, meaning the photograph must have been taken after that.
However, Burton Corporation's electric tramway tracks still cross the bridge, indicating that it must also pre-date 1930, tram services finishing in favour of buses on 31 December 1929. The route seen here split at the far end of the bridge to serve Winshill and Stapenhill; the former arm was also connected until 1927 to the Burton & Ashby Light Railway (owned by the London Midland & Scottish Railway from 1923), which ran across country to reach Swadlincote, Woodville, Gresley and Ashby de la Zouch. The overhead wiring for the trams also supports some rather delicate looking electric street lights suspended from decorative brackets.
The River Trent has a multitude of different channels at this point, hence the need for such a long bridge (460 yards in length with 29 arches), but the first few arches (visible here on the right) actually span railway tracks, this being the ex-Midland Railway Hay Branch, one of a network of lines serving the town's breweries. The descending roadway gives access to Hay Wharf, a public goods facility that closed in 1964. In fact, it was the arrival of this railway line that prompted construction of the 1864 bridge; it was designed by the MR's engineer, J S Crossley and funded by various railway companies and local landowner, the Marquess of Anglesey.
The building with the chimney in the background (left of centre) is the Bridge Brewery, one of the few in Burton not served by rail and reached by a series of arches off the main Trent Bridge.
Derby-based postcard publisher F W Scarratt took this photo but its serial number is unknown. However, taking into consideration the timeframe of 1926 to 1930, it is known that Scarratt took a picture of the other end of the bridge in similar conditions around 1929 (No 1399) so it is possible this one may have been either 1398, 1400 or 1402, none of which are accounted for.