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Visiting Newcastle, England and the Tyne Bridge: by the builders of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia

Updated on November 13, 2015
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
The Tyne Bridge in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, viewed from the Newcastle side
The Tyne Bridge in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, viewed from the Newcastle side | Source
Map location of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom
Map location of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom | Source
Sydney Harbour, from Dumaresq Road, Rose Bay, New South Wales, Australia.
Sydney Harbour, from Dumaresq Road, Rose Bay, New South Wales, Australia. | Source

Historic structure spanning the Tyne River

The Tyne Bridge, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1), Tyneside, England and Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, was built by the same construction firm, Dorman Long & Co., of Middlesbrough, England.

It is no small wonder, then, that the two arch bridges look very similar. (Just that the Tyne Bridge is 389 metres long, 55 metres tall at its highest point and 17 metres wide, while the Sydney Harbour Bridge dwarfs it at 1,149 metres long, 134 metres high and 49 metres wide.)

The Tyne Bridge was opened in 1928 by King George V.

So, which of these two, similar, arched bridges came first, the Tyne Bridge or the Sydney Harbour Bridge?

Well, actually this question is far more difficult to answer than may first appear.

The Tyne Bridge was begun in 1925 and completed in 1928.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge, on the other hand, was begun in 1923. But it was not completed until 1932.

The main photo, above, shows the Tyne Bridge viewed from the Newcastle side of the Tyne River, at Quayside and Sandhill. (The northern side of the river is situated in Gateshead.) The photo also shows the vessel Tuxedo Princess, moored on the Tyne River underneath the Bridge.

My visit to Newcastle, when I saw this fine structure was memorable, while I must confess also that the road traffic as I crossed the Bridge was actually travelling at no more than pedestrian speed: this also stayed in my memory!

May 11, 2013


(1) England also has a Newcastle in Staffordshire; thus to differentiate them they are officially styled Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Newcastle-under-Lyme respectively.

Also worth seeing

In Newcastle-upon-Tyne, other noted structures include: Grey's Monument commemorating Prime Minister Earl Grey; Newcastle Castle Keep, dating from the 12th century; St NIcholas' Cathedral, built between the 11th and 16th centuries, with its distinctive lantern tower feature; and many others. Newcastle is a university city; the Armstrong Building at Newcastle University is particularly distinctive.

In Gateshead (joined to Newcastle by the Tyne Bridge), Saltwell Towers is a striking, 19th century mansion; a huge statue, The Angel of the North, completed in 1998, measures 20 metres by 54 metres; Gateshead Millennium Bridge was completed in 2001.

How to get there: British Airways flies from London Heathrow Airport to Newcastle International Airport, where car rental is available; there are also regular rail and coach links between London and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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