This film is part of Free

Opening of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge

Extraordinary pictures of an accident with a royal audience at Middlesbroughs magnificent Transporter Bridge in 1911.

Non-Fiction 1911 1 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


A surprise scoop awaits a news cameraman at the opening ceremony of the high and mighty steel Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough on October 17th 1911. Queen Victorias grandson, Prince Arthur of Connaught, declares the bridge open from the Transporter car, crowded with important civic dignitaries including the Mayor, Sir Hugh Bell. Astonished guests witness an unfortunate accident as the bridge car moves off on its inaugural trip across the River Tees.

This local topical most certainly thrilled the crowds at cinemas, and probably screened, along with live acts, at cinema magnate Tommy Thompsons Middlesbrough theatres, Cleveland Hall, affectionately known as the "Bug and Flea", and the Hippodrome in Wilson Street, purchased in 1910. Equally, the combination of royal celebrity and a new iconic bridge in town would have lured audiences. The wonderful lacy structure impressed architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner in 1966, when his Yorkshire guide noted: ...A European monument, one is tempted to say, is the Transporter Bridge of 1911, 850 feet long and 225 feet high, and in its daring and finesse, a thrill to see from anywhere.