Images from the Duck Race 2022 held at Lady Julian Bridge on the River Wensum. What a crowd!
Proceeds from the Duck Race were given to a fund for Ukrainian children.
5000 ducks of all colours took part, but didn’t race towards the Millenium Bridge as reported in the Norwich Evening News! They only went a few meters from the bridge in the direction of Foundry Bridge.
It was a fun event and all for a good cause and brilliant to see the crowds out enjoying the spectacle, alongside the Lord Mayor of Norwich.
Images and the history of Foundry Bridge, Norwich.
My River Wensum series starts with a photo tour of bridges. I began with Carrow Bridge as it is the nearest to my apartment. Traveling along the Wensum up towards the city, the next bridge featured in this series is the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge, followed by the Lady Julian Bridge and from there we arrive next at Foundry Bridge just by Norwich Train Station.
While I often use Lady Julian Bridge to cut up to King Street for a shorter route into the city, what I really like to do, when I have time, is to walk along the Wensum up to Foundry Bridge and cross over Prince of Wales Road to continue the river walk. I also use Foundry Bridge to cross the river to get to the post office (I am sure you are fascinated to know this). It just goes to show how important these bridges are to daily life in Norwich. I’m very glad I don’t have to swim across the river.
The Foundry Bridge (a grade II listed building) is a single-span iron bridge with its own distinctive decorative design. Here are some interesting details about the Foundry Bridge from George Plunkett.
‘The first to occupy this site was a toll bridge built of wood in 1811 by the contractors, Mendham of Holt. In 1844, with the coming of the railway, it was replaced by one made of iron by Bradley and Co. of Wakefield, and designed by C.D. Atkinson. It cost £800. It was then freed from toll. The present structure was built when Thorpe Station was enlarged; the contractors were R.Tidman and Co of Rosary Rd, Norwich. It cost £12,032. opened on January 17th, 1888.’
It is fascinating to know the cost of the construction of the Foundry Bridge. I can only imagine what a bridge of similar construction would cost today. It certainly wouldn’t be £12,000!
The thing I love about bridges is how unique each one is. Whether it be a footbridge or built for vehicular access, a swing, opening or fixed bridge, they all have their own special design, quirks, and individuality. This really appeals to me. Of course, every bridge provides an interesting viewpoint too, ideal for a photographer.
Looking back towards Lady Julian Bridge with the Nelson Hotel on the right, Norwich Station on the left, and, of course, the Canoe Man.
Looking towards the city, Norwich Yacht Station is on the right hand side and the Compleat Angler pub on the left. Willow trees line the river down towards Pulls Ferry and the next bridge in this series Bishopsgate Bridge.
While researching the Foundry Bridge, I learned the tragic story of what happened nearby on April 4th, 1817 (Good Friday) to the Norwich Steam Packet when the engine exploded. You can read about it here on the NorfolkTalesMyths.com website.
This terrible story brought to mind a ghostly incident that happened in the Hotel Nelson garden a year ago. We often wander the city streets on summer nights, taking photographs and enjoying the lights. One night, we went down the steps from Foundry Bridge and walked alongside the Nelson Hotel into the garden. I walked a little ahead of my boyfriend while he stopped to read a sign, and suddenly, out of nowhere, a bottle flew through the air and landed by my foot. I spun around expecting to see the person who had thrown it, but there wasn’t a soul to be seen. There were no bushes to hide in.
With no wind and the bottle flying at knee height before it landed, we came to the conclusion it had been thrown by a ghost, or now I wonder, perhaps if it was eerily propelled by the historic explosion…
Whether you believe in ghostly happenings or not, it is the only explanation I have.
Look out for my next blog about Bridges o’er the Wensum – or get updated by hitting the subscribe button below.
River Wensum photographic series by MyriadLifePhoto
My River Wensum series starts with a photo tour of the bridges along the river. I began with Carrow Bridgeas it is the nearest to my apartment. While Carrow Bridge is nearly 100 years old, the Novi Sad Millennium Bridge opened in November 2001, so it is merely a youngster among the bridges of the Wensum.
The bridge is an asymmetric cable-stayed swing footbridge and is named Novi Sad in acknowledgement of the twinning of Novi Sad, Serbia, with Norwich. Novi Sad is a beautiful city that lies along the banks of the River Danube.
More information about the construction of the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge can be found here: fascinating facts for any bridge enthusiast!
The Broads Authority website gives heights and openings of all the bridges in Norfolk.
The Novi Sad and the Lady Julian Bridge both have cycle paths in the centre. As a cyclist, I have to say, it’s a shame that more pedestrians don’t acknowledge this. As a pedestrian, I know it is easy to forget and wander into the cycle lane or be forced into it by other pedestrians.
In the picture above, you can see the derelict old restoration barn to the right and a picturesque riverside residential building, loved by many a passer-by.
It is a beautiful view towards the city from the Novi Sad Bridge, you can see Lady Julian Bridge and Norwich Cathedral spire in the distance. Check out my little video below.
The pictures above show different angles of the Novi Sad Bridge. There is a patch of land next to the bridge that is being developed into apartments. Sadly the former Ferry Boat pub was forced to close due to noise complaints and financial difficulties.
The River Wensum is changing rapidly before our very eyes. In my next post, I move down the river to the Lady Julian Bridge.
All images and text copyright of @MyriadLifePhoto 2022
Carrow Bridge is a lifting bridge. Unfortunately, I have never been lucky enough to see it lift up. I like to peer into the little control hut and imagine it in operation. Despite my best attempts to find a video of it opening, so far, I haven’t been successful. All I can find is a video of the test opening in 2018 to allow TS Lord Nelson aka HMS Vale pass through, which isn’t particularly interesting!
The current Carrow Bridge was constructed in 1923 to replace the old bridge to the South. More recently, there have been plans by the council to weld the bridge shut. Read a press release from the Norwich Society about this here.
Reginald Dann, lived in Carrow Bridge House (the former bridge master’s house) for more than 50 years until it was sold at auction. Thankfully, a plan by the county council to demolish it was defeated by the city council.
You can see images of the bridge open here in an EDP article, when the TS Lord Nelson passed through in 2004. There is also a nice image in the article of the The ship “Paullgate” of Hull carrying cargo under Carrow bridge at the port of Norwich. Dated 20 May 1966. The TS Lord Nelson was eventually decommissioned and now rests in Bristol.
I walk across the bridge at least once every day, and I also cross it every night. I enjoy looking out over both sides of Carrow bridge, but my favourite view is looking back up the river past the Devil’s Tower towards old Paper Mill Yard.
You can read more about the history of the Devil’s Tower here – it is a virtually unique structure in England, built in the early 14th century. Directly opposite is the Windlass Tower.
I will write more about the Wensum Boom Towers in future posts.
A view further up from Carrow Bridge.
Carrow Bridge by night.
I frequently pass under the bridge, on the way into the city. It is a favourite spot for pigeons to court in the spring. There is also the occasional dove.
Sometimes swans sit in the wooden under-structure compartments as if they were stables. I am sure there is a technical name for the structure, but I have no idea what it is.
Eric and Erica, the Egyptian geese, like to perch on the wooden sidings that are there to guide boats through, but usually they are keeping guard on the river bank. Occasionally, a heron perches near the bridge too.
On summer nights, if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of bats performing aerobatics around the bridge.
Street Art under Carrow Bridge
Every now and then, new street art appears under the bridge. These images have disappeared now, which is a shame because I really liked them. They are preferable to the meaningless tagging that crops up everywhere (not meaningless to gangs, I guess, but still an eyesore).
Springtime on the River Wensum, Norwich has arrived at last. It feels as though it has been a long winter and although there is always something to see waterside, life gets far more interesting as the temperature rises.
I have spent the last two years photographically recording the River Wensum through the seasons, and I continue to do so. The different styles of architecture, modern and old, are fascinating to shoot. The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to shoot from a boat. My choice of craft is a canoe. It can be a bit wobbly which worries me sometimes but it’s flexible in getting good camera angles. It’s a whole new city from the water!
Where once there were Wherries and ships, now there are leisure boats, paddle boards, canoes and dinghies. Industrial use of the Wensum ceased in the 1980’s. I like to imagine how the Wensum thrived as a port. The industrial buildings all have their own stories. One of my favourite buildings is the old Furniture Restoration barn (see below). The corrugated metal it was created from has worn and rusted over the years. I like the way it is described on the Geograph site as being in a state of ‘picturesque dilapidation’.
There are other elderly buildings I love along the river but I will detail those in future posts.
Each post will focus on a particular aspect of the river whether it be the Cormorants, Barnacle or Egyptian Geese, my beloved swans, Kingfishers or the medieval bridges, historical buildings such as Pull’s Ferry and Norwich Cathedral. I will drop in some history but mostly it will be how I see the river through my eyes, here in 2022, as it continues to change and evolve.
There is so much to look at and investigate, I hope you will subscribe to see the River Wensum through my eyes and enjoy my observations, perhaps even adding your own. The other benefit to subscribing is that every month I create a free notebook giveaway. All you have to do is leave your email address (don’t worry about getting bombarded, I don’t post all that often!)
My next post will give a brief history of the Wensum and explore the bridges.