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In January 2010 visual artist, Elaine Tribley, was awarded a commission by Essex County Council to create a design for the new bridge being constructed in Guithavon Road, Witham.

 

The bridge crosses the River Brain along Witham's River Walk, and according to records will be the fourth bridge to be built in this position. Maurice Smith recorded that the bridge in Guithavon Road had always been a parish bridge as it does not lie on a main road. In fact, it was not until 1855 that this road was dedicated to the public. In July 1860, opinion was expressed that the bridge should be removed and a new one erected in iron or brick. It was not until May 1862 that tender was accepted for its repair. The bridge was reported once more as being unsafe in 1912 due to the decay of timbers resting upon the brickwork. In January 1914 the Surveyor was instructed to obtain plans and tenders for a new reinforced concrete bridge. The date 1914 with the letters “W.U.D.C.” could be seen on that bridge.


That 1914 bridge was demolished in January 2010 when it was replaced by a new concrete bridge re-opened to the public in April 2010. The design created by Elaine Tribley was grit blasted onto the concrete parapets away from site and delivered and lowered into place individually by crane. An inscription was also blasted into the inside (traffic side) of the parapets, taken from a quote by Horace Walpole, 1749, referring to this river a little upstream at Chipping Hill '‘There are sweet meadows falling down a hill, and rising again t’other side of the prettiest winding stream you ever saw'.

Sources: Essex County Council; Maurice Smith; Witham & Countryside Society

Text and Photographs: John Palombi and Cyril Taylor unless otherwise accredited. Illustrations: John Finch and Julie & John Denney. Translations: Google.com. Original Concept: Joy Vaughan, Witham Town Centre Strategy Group. Narration: John Rhodes
 

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