Humber Bridge - a link that transformed Yorkshire communities

The Humber Bridge. Photo: James Hardisty. Technical details: Camera Nikon D5, lens Nikon 70-200mm, shutter speed, 1/800sec, aperture f/7.1, ISO 160.
The Humber Bridge. Photo: James Hardisty. Technical details: Camera Nikon D5, lens Nikon 70-200mm, shutter speed, 1/800sec, aperture f/7.1, ISO 160.

It has dominated the landscape of the River Humber estuary since its grand opening by the Queen in 1981 and such is the significance of the Grade I-Listed Humber Bridge, that last year it was made the focus of a heritage project exploring the impact of the structure on communities across the region.

Prior to its construction, the estuary had presented a barrier to trade and development between the two sides of the river. Whilst ferries could make a direct crossing, the route by road between the likes of Hull and Grimsby involved travelling 82 miles via the inland port of Goole.

Newburgh Priory: The Yorkshire country house where Oliver Cromwell is buried
After years of local campaigning for a bridge or tunnel connecting the banks, approval for the construction of a suspension bridge was granted in 1959, though it was not until more than a decade later, in 1972, that work finally got underway. The first traffic crossed in June of 1981 and Her Majesty officially launched the bridge the following month.

With upwards of one thousand workers employed at times of peak building activity and the bridge saving not only vehicle miles but valuable hours of drivers’ time, it had a transformative impact on residents, commercial operators and tourists alike.

Hackfall Wood: The Yorkshire Dales woodland full of enchanted waterfalls and mysterious ruins
Today, it is used by more than 10 million vehicles every single year, as well as those crossing on foot or bicycle and not only does it continue to provide a vital and practical connection between East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, it also boasts some impressive statistics.

For 16 years from its opening, it was the world’s longest single-span suspension bridge, and today, at 2,200 metres, or 1.4 miles long, it is the eighth longest on the planet.

When, in 2017, it was granted Grade I status by Historic England, deeming it to be of “exceptional interests”, it became the longest listed structure in the UK. In fact, the amount of wire used in the bridge would wrap around the moon more than six times.

Goldsborough Hall: The Yorkshire B&B that was once home to a princess
Given such scale and prominence then, it is perhaps not surprising it is the defining focus of many a photo, like this.