This project aims to document the historical aspects of all the bridges on major routes within Upper Wharfedale, including bridges on tributary rivers and streams. This history will incorporate the study of local documentation, recording and analysis of documents in libraries and archives within the West Riding and, probably, North Yorkshire. The project will also include the identification of bridges that retain bridge markers, which were used to identify those bridges where repairs were paid for by the West Riding or other public bodies.
History of Bridges in Upper Wharfedale
This part of the project will include the study of
Histories of local villages and places
Information that can be found in local, regional and county-wide libraries.
Original documents found in public and private archives and digitised on the internet.
Laws issued by government on construction and repair of bridges.
Photographic evidence of historical changes such as widening of the bridge or of old bridge abutments.
Some visits to archives and libraries may be required. However, where archives and libraries can copy images of documents these will be used. Source documents will be transcribed and made available to members.
Shirley Everett will be supervising this part of the project.
Chris Lunnon will be supervising this part of the project.
The bridge list on the website will be regularly updated (normally at least monthly) to include information submitted. Please consult the list before planning your visits.
A short update will be given monthly to update everybody on the progress of the project. Where important or interesting information comes to light this will be reported in the update.
It is our aim to produce a publication on the history of Bridges and Bridge Markers in Upper Wharfedale, but there is no fixed timescale for Publication.
How to get involved
You must be a member of Upper Wharfedale Heritage group to be involved in this project. Members who wish to take part should email us on UWHG.BridgeMarkers@gmail.com giving their names and whether they would like to take part in the Bridge Marker survey or the Bridge History project. Further details and an essential H & S sheet will be emailed to all participants or it can be downloaded here.
UWHG will re-imburse copying costs where reasonable and/or where agreed with Shirley Everett or Chris Lunnon. Travel cost to visit Libraries/Archives etc or bridges are the responsibility of the individual.
The copyright to information and pictures submitted lies with UWHG. Any publication, whether in books or on-line, will record the names of volunteer contributors. It will not be possible to link names to individual pieces of information or pictures.
Ordnance Survey maps OL2, OL30 and 297 cover Upper Wharfedale and tributaries. These maps show the location of the Upper Wharfedale bridges within the list.
Identification of Bridge Markers
This will require every bridge over the River Wharfe and its tributary rivers and streams to be inspected to identify which type of marker is associated with that bridge. A list of bridges will be provided, giving locations and Ordnance Survey Grid references. Markers were generally located at or near each end of the bridge on the roadside.
For each bridge visited and inspected, we ask that the information is passed to us, via the website or to the given email address, so the bridge list can be updated. Where possible pictures of the bridge and the bridge marker will be included. It is very likely that no marker will be found at the bridge, but this information is important as it will enable the wider understanding of which type of bridges needed marking or the date when marking ceased.
It is of benefit that many people inspect the bridges. The markers are often difficult to find, having been partially covered or overgrown. The list will show when enough inspections have taken place.
UWHG Bridge Markers Project
It isn’t really possible to travel through Upper Wharfedale without noticing the large number of bridges. The valley is full of streams and rivers contributing to the Wharfe, and the Wharfe itself becomes substantial before it gets to Buckden. The bridges mark places where the rivers and streams have been crossed for generations probably, even if the bridges themselves are of more recent origin.
As part of a process of understanding how our ancestors lived and worked in the valley, UWHG has initiated a survey project to identify and record all the bridges upstream of Bolton Bridge, and to identify the markers that indicate who is, and was, responsible for their maintenance.
In the pages here, you can read the project proposal which includes details of how to contribute, if you would like to. It is also a live record of the project results, and so will change over time.