Bridges O’er The Wensum – Carrow Bridge

As part of my River Wensum photographic record, I am going to post about each of the bridges along the Wensum, starting here with Carrow Bridge.

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.

Up river towards the old Colman’s factory site.
The Broads Authority River Ranger making checks near 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.

Carrow Bridge by night.

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.

Eric and Erica keeping watch near Carrow 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). 

To see old pictures of Carrow Bridge and the rest of the city, you may enjoy visiting the Francis Frith Collection.

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Sources used for this blog post: EDP24, The Norwich Society, the Francis Frith Collection, Norwich.Gov.uk, WivenhoeHistory.org.uk

Spring vibes for photography

Spring is at last beginning to spring into life after what has seemed a very long winter to me.

As a photographer, I love all seasons but I have to say, the long gloomy days this winter just haven’t been as inspiring for me. Although I did carry on shooting (it’s impossible for me to stop), my mojo did wane somewhat.

Every season brings something worth seeing, if it isn’t obvious, you have to go look for it. I live by the river which makes things easier. There are always the swans, geese, cormorants, and pigeons to spot. Never have I been more thankful to see the blossom again, and the wild flowers beginning to burst into life.

I guess the state of the world has to have a bearing on the mood this winter. First came the pandemic and now of course war. Even though we are far removed from the wars in other parts of the world. The thought of others suffering wherever they are, takes a toll on the psyche.

So I am going to cease moaning about what a long difficult winter it was and start to celebrate spring. We are lucky to be here and especially lucky to be living in Norfolk.

This weekend there will be blue sky and the daffodils are blooming all around the city. Yesterday we took a walk along the River Wensum, down past Cow Tower which is one of my favourite spots to see them.

Only a few days earlier, we were lucky enough to spot a Kingfisher along the banks of the Wensum. I spent the whole of 2021 looking out for Kingfishers only to see a few from a very long distance away. This time, I had my baby Canon ready to shoot. I am not really a wildlife photographer, as in, it is not a speciality of mine, so I was mighty chuffed to capture a Kingfisher as they are rare to see and even more difficult to photograph.

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