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Photo-a-day 212: Bottle of Notes

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

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This is Bottle of Notes, a 1993 steel and enamel sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen which forms text from Captain Cook’s journals into a white bottle; a blue note inside is formed of a line of poetry by one of the artists. It’s about 35 feet tall, and leans at a considerable angle. It was forged a little further north in Hebburn.

Since the bottle’s 1993 installation, mima – the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art – has been built behind it. It opened in 2007, but is (perhaps unfortunately?) best known for hosting Jeremy Clarkson et al’s Top Gear exhibition of automotive art in 2009.

This post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , .

Photo-a-day 191: Tees Transporter Bridge

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

20120709-134244.jpg

As I’m coming to the end of my time working on Teesside, I think it would be impossible to leave without featuring one of the most iconic sights of the area: the Tees Transporter Bridge. The photo below might give a more familiar view, but it’s very difficult to fit the bridge into a single frame when this close up!

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The bridge was built 101 years ago, and remains in perfect working order. It is the world’s largest operational transporter bridge, and it carries people and vehicles along the A178, connecting Middlesbrough to Port Clarence. It remains the furthest downstream crossing of the River Tees.

There are only eleven transporter bridges left in the world, and still fewer that actually work. In the United Kingdom, only Newport boasts another working transporter bridge; there’s another bridge in Warrington that’s been out of use since 1964, while London’s Royal Victoria Dock Bridge was designed with (as yet unused) transporter bridge capabilities.

As with all transporter bridges, it works through loading people and vehicles onto a gondola, suspended from the main structure. This then moves back and forth – in less than two minutes each way – allowing traffic to cross. Here’s the gondola in action:

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The current tolls are surprisingly small: just £1.30 for a car, or 70p for a pedestrian or cyclist. For a smaller fee, it used to be possible to climb the steps at either end and walk across the top of the bridge. A restoration project going on at the moment will install glass elevators to transport visitors to the top, making the reportedly extraordinary views accessible to everyday visitors once again.

This post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , , .

Photo-a-day 171: Tees Newport Bridge

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

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Designed and built entirely on Teesside, and opened in 1934 by the Duke and Duchess of York (later the Queen Mother), this is the Tees Newport Bridge. It has a span of 82m, and two 55m lifting towers with counterweights of nearly 7,000 metric tonnes.

The little hut perched on the middle of the bridge is the winch-house, from where the up-and-down movement of the bridge was controlled. I say “little hut”, but I understand that it’s actually a quite beautiful oak-pannelled control room, modelled on the bridge of a ship. The bridge was winched by electric motors, though did have petrol backups. The third-line backup was to winch by hand, but it’s said that this would have taken twelve men eight hours.

22 years ago, after a final ceremonial raising and lowering (which is actually on YouTube), the road bridge was bolted in place: there was really very little point in continuing to maintain the lifting mechanism given that the innavigable (at least to big ships) Tees Barrage was just about to be constructed a little upstream. There was initially some speculation that the massive steel counterweights could therefore be detached and sold as scrap, until some bright spark realised that they were still actually supporting the weight of the road bridge, even though movement was prevented by the bolting process.

The bridge remains busy with traffic, as it’s part of the A1032.

This post was filed under: Photo-a-day 2012, , , .




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