Tuesday, 5 June 2007

1947 was a very good year
If you endured the Big Freeze or the floods which washed away the Cavendish Bridge near Shardlow, you might not agree whole-heartedly with this statement. However, those of us who were born in 1947 and also within the Chinese Year of the Golden Pig stand by it.
On our many trips to the Derby cousins in the Standard Vanguard Phase II (not the egg-shaped Phase I) we children would start the journey up the A5 by playing pub cricket but would gradually fall into the torpor induced by four hours without exercise.
The wake up call was provided by a clanking and rattling a few miles outside Derby as we crossed the River Trent at Cavendish Bridge. In 1941 Sir Donald Bailey developed the giant Mecanno like bridge which bore his name and when the stone bridge here was washed away it was replaced by one of these amazing structures. The design brief was to produce a bridge that could span up to 200ft, be carried in a 3 ton truck and assembled quickly by six unskilled men using no specialised equipment. This particular example was erected in 1947 and finally replaced in 1957.

The original Cavendish Bridge

There is now no bridge here as the A6 bypasses the village but the position of the bailey bridge is still visible ( with the bypass in the distance)

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