Greater Manchester’s forgotten bridges revealed

EYEWITNESS 2015 blog by Aidan O'Rourke

Partially uncovered Hanging Bridge next to Manchester Cathedral

Partially uncovered Hanging Bridge next to Manchester Cathedral

 Here’s my feature on forgotten bridges which have been uncovered and restored or will soon be. I’ve always been fascinated by bridges. They have an aesthetic quality, they’re also historic and tell us so much about geography. Many bridges are buried under layers of development. A few have been uncovered and will see the light of day again.

We take old bridges for granted. Often we don’t even notice we are crossing them. Many lie buried and forgotten, but a few are being rediscovered. In Stockport, the 19th century Lancashire Bridge reappeared after many years. A section of the covering was cut away to reveal the bridge and river below. A similar project is in progress in Rochdale. The bridge remained out of sight from 1824 until last year. As part of the ‘Revealing the Roch’ project, the surface layer has been removed to reveal the river Roch and bridge underneath. I find it fascinating as it transforms the town by going back in time. In Manchester city centre, part of the medieval Hanging Bridge was revealed in the late 90s. It’s part of the Cathedral visitors centre. And down on the Irwell, one of Manchester’s oldest and most significant bridges has been partially hidden for over a century. It’s the Stephenson Bridge built in 1830 for the Manchester to Liverpool railway. The Ordsall Chord will have an impact on the Grade 1 listed bridge on the Manchester side but the works will also cause part of it to be exposed, a ‘consolation prize’ or ‘extra benefit’ depending on your viewpoint. Discover Manchester city centre on one of my photographic walking tours, £25 for MEN readers. More info on

Lancashire Bridge, Stockport, uncovered in 2014.

Lancashire Bridge, Stockport, uncovered in 2014.

Rochdale Bridge and River Roch

Rochdale Bridge was uncovered in 2015 as part of the ‘Revealing the Roch’ project

Princes Bridge and Stephenson Bridge

Princes Bridge (left) and hidden in shadow, the 1830 Stephenson Bridge.

CLICK TO SHARETweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on FacebookBuffer this pageShare on Google+Email this to someone

Related posts:

Aidan O'RourkeAidan O'Rourke has been active in photography and online media since 1995. He has documented the development of the local area in his Eyewitness website (1997-2005) and as a contributor to books, publications and the Manchester Evening News. He runs photography walks in Manchester and Liverpool.