This film is part of Free

Littlehampton and Rustington

The bridge is the star of this fascinating film from 1961 - as one of Littlehampton's long lost structures swings into action.

Amateur film 1961 16 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


Starting with a car journey across Littlehampton's Swing Bridge, also known as Norfolk Bridge, we enter the seaside town of Littlehampton. After views of homes and gardens in Rustington and a new housing estate, we then see a Carnival procession pass along the seafront. While dinghies sail on the Arun the bridge swings into action. After remarkable views of traffic on the bridge, filmed from overhead, we see the structure swing to allow a passing ship through to the harbour.

Littlehampton's Swing Bridge, opened in 1908, was a dramatic feature on the River Arun until its demolition in 1980. By the 1950s, the increase in traffic wishing to use the bridge often resulted in long delays and even detours via nearby Arundel. As you can see in the film, the bridge was single-lane only and received a daily pounding from all sorts of traffic approaching Littlehampton from the west. In 1973 a new road bridge was completed a little further up river and following the Swing Bridge's demolition a new footbridge, which is in use today, was built on its piers. Also in 1973, the MV Jonrix, seen in the film passing the bridge, sank enroute to Antwerp carrying a cargo of china clay from Plymouth.