Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 142,963 pages of information and 228,875 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

High Bridge, Lincoln

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The second oldest masonry bridge in Britain

The High Bridge in Lincoln, England is the oldest bridge in the United Kingdom which still has buildings on it. It was built about 1160 A.D. and a chapel built in 1235 dedicated to Thomas Becket was removed in 1762 with the current row of shops dating from 1550. Bridges like this were common in the Middle Ages, the best known being London Bridge, but most have long since been demolished because of their obstruction to the river flow and to shipping.

The Glory Hole is the name given by generations of boaters to the High Bridge in Lincoln.[2] It has a narrow and crooked arch which sets a limit on the size of boats using the Witham and going from Brayford Pool, at the start of Foss Dyke, to Boston and the sea.

Since the 14th Century the bridge has contributed to floods in Lincoln and after any heavy rain the bridge is virtually unnavigable, which may be why it got its name. A design by William Jessop in the 19th century to reroute the waters of the Witham through the south of the town was never implemented.

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