Friday, 11 April 2014

THE ORIGINAL LONG LANE CANAL BRIDGE


by Dave Roberts
We're indebted once again to local photographer Bill Armsden who found this remarkable image while he was looking through some family photographs.
In fact, Bill thinks it may well have been taken in the 1960s by his mother, who died recently.
We're calling it 'remarkable' not because there is anything particularly special about the photograph itself, but because it depicts a lost feature of our town - the only bridge on the Shropshire Union Canal's Middlewich Branch (within the town boundary at least) to have been destroyed and replaced by a modern concrete structure.
This happened during that curious and mercifully short-lived era when the car was king and, in the rush to make everything easier for the motorist, a historic canal bridge which had been serving the community since 1829 could be sacrificed.
Or am I being too harsh? Was there, in fact, a problem with the original bridge which would have cost too much to put right, making the concrete replacement the better option?
I certainly can't remember there being any public outcry over the destruction of the old bridge (which there certainly would be today if anyone suggested destroying such an iconic structure).
Does anyone know the circumstances of this drastic change to the SUC landscape?
Was it simply a question of the need for a  a wider road, which couldn't be accommodated by the old bridge?
Whatever the reason for the change, it comes as a bit of a shock to see the modern bungalows on the other side of Long Lane, which still look very much the same today, with this long-gone bridge in the foreground.
And look at the steel and concrete 'stile', to the right of the bridge, which I'd always thought was put there when the new bridge was built.
Is it the same 'stile' which is there today? It certainly looks like it.

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