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Saturday, 24 June 2017

A bridge too far?

In the last blog we just about cleared the original precincts of the old walled town of Hull, so now were are pushing through the newer parts of Hull. New is a relative term! The tide was still coming in and I was still worried that we would not fit under the last bridge on the outskirts of the City. We had passed under five bridges and still have seven left to do.

There is evidence of recent use of some of the old wharves on this stretch. Hull became the centre for sedd crushing and vegetable oil extraction. Mills were set up all along the River Hull. These were easily supplied with raw material from inland, via the canal and river system as well as from abroad for more exotic items via transhipment to barges direct from the importing ships thro Hull Docks. As with flour milling, fire was an ever present danger, especially with the oils released. Many factories were lost, rebuilt and lost again, and the extensive bombing of Hull in WWII did for many more. There is still quite a strong vegetable moil industry in Hull and many have depots on the River Hull or the Docks. As you can see there are many old warehouses left along the river corridor and alot not in the best condition. In the distance is the next bridge Scott Street. It is a double bascule bridge that was built in 1901 and the bridge, operators cabin, railings and lamps are Listed. Unfortunately the roadway is now too weak to support traffic so it has been left in the raised position since 1994 when the £5 million required to repair it then could not be found.

I hope one day the money will be found to ensure that the bridge actually operates again as it should do. There can not be too many bridges like this left. There is a plan to lift all twelve bridges across the River Hull at the same time at the start of September as part of the Freedom centre. It will be a unique experience but is likely to cause chaos as the next crossing is at Beverley.

A little further along is Brown's Dry Dock on Lime Street. This has been owned by Lincoln and Marine since 1986. This company was founded in the early 1900's and ran barges all over the the Yorkshire system. They carried aggregates from their own quarries. Since buying the dry dock they have gone more to construction and repair and are hoping to get work from the offshore wind farm industry. This is almost 1 mile up the river.

At the next bend we saw a veg oil barge, 'Swinderby' alongside a wharf. When I looked closer I could see there were no ropes out. It seems they were waiting for us to pass before continuing their journey. Once we were past it seemed that they were not heading outwards, but were head to tide and using the flow to get them up river. The 'Swinderby' was built in 1974 just near where I leave at Hepworth's Yard, Paull. It has a double hull and carries edible oils from King George Dock up the River Hull. The 'Swinderby' is looking somewhat battered, but I'm glad that they waited for us as it would have been interesting being stuck behind them, or overtaking them.

Round the next corner is the Sculcoates bridge. The bridge is wrought iron and is the oldest bridge over the Hull and was built in 1874 and opened in 1875. The swing bridge leaves a space of 56' for ships to pass through and is listed. The new building is the new Energy Works fluidised bed gassification plant. This will be linked to a site a little further up the river that will receive the waste materials will be brought and biodegradable material sent to an anaerobic digestion there. The solids will then be moved to this site by a short conveyor to be mixed in an oxygen rich atmosphere where the whole will act like a fluid and be converted to a natural gas. This will burned to raise steam and create electricity. This will provide electricity for 43000 homes everyday of the year, unlike wind and solar, so acting as base load. There will 25 jobs when it is up and running. The sight may not have the lovely smell of the past occupants of the site, ADM Cocoa Mills.

The Wilmington swing bridge was built in 1907 for the North East Railway Co. It was declared redundant for the railways in 1968 and is now a footpath and cycleway, and is listed. The silos of the British Extraction Co. Ltd. are Grade II listed so have survived so far. They were built in 1919 and were designed by Gelder and Kitchen of Hull. There are 64 storage towers where the cottonseed or linseed was stored prior to crushing and extraction.

The 'Rix Eagle', it seems, is waiting for work at one of the Rix Terminals on the River Hull. In the background is the chimney of the Cargill Co. It used to be the Croda plant. They can process 750 tonnes of rape seed a day and produce 420 tonnes of rape meal and 320 tonnes of rape oil a day. Raw material and finished product can be moved in or out by barge.

The next bridge is Hull Bridge that was built for the Hull and Barnsley Railway in 1885. The swing bridge is of bowspring span type and is still in use for freight trains from the eastern docks today. I was pleased to see there was plenty of room under the bridge for us but the tide was still coming in and the river bed coming up too, and there were still three bridges to go.

Stoneferry lift bridges were built between 1988 and 1991 to replace a swing bridge of 1905 and before that a ferry and possibly a ford before that. There is one bridge for each carriageway of the road.

In the distance you can see Croda International's Polymer additive factory. Alongside is the 'Paragon'. I can only assume that the polymer additive industry uses vegetable oils in the process. These additives are used to give effects such as anti-fog, anti-static, UV absorption,  torque release and many more.

Just two bridge to go and this one is Sutton Road Bridge and is of the Scherzer rolling bridge design and was built in 1939. Sutton is/was a small village outside of Hull but has been subsumed by the City. It still has a village feel to it although surrounded by more modern housing. John Prescott ex Labour Deputy Prime Minister lives there. There were some guys under the bridge fishing and they told us that they had caught some trout, among others, and indeed the water was looking clear.

You can see that we have sufficient room to pass under the Ennerdale Bidges. I think that if we had been another 30 mins later we may not have been able to pass. Relief for this, and as the weather brightened up even more. Theriver crossing for this northern relief road was supposed to be by tunnel. In 1991 they had spent £10 million on the works when  a 2 mt hole appeared in the river bed and the whole site flooded. There was supposed to be a layer of boulder clay below the river sediments and then the chalk aquifer. The flooding meant that there was a risk to the chalk aquifer and as the regions water is largely drawn form it they felt that it would be severely compromised if the work continued. The contract for the bridges was given in 1995 and it was completed in 1997 with one bridge for each carriage way. They are the same as the Stoneferry bridges. The whole scheme ended up costing £30 million instead of the projected £13 million. 

I was very pleased to be under it anyway and this marked the northern boundary of Hull and so we were now out into the country. I slowed down to jsy above minimum to allow the tide to rise more for when we arrived at Beverley.

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