Heritage Sites


Swing Bridge

One of the industrial wonders of the Victorian age, the Swing Bridge connecting Newcastle and Gateshead was a product of the visionary engineering genius Lord Armstrong.

It was designed to improve navigation and expand trade by opening the upper reaches of the river to larger ships.

On completion in 1876, at 171 metres long and 14 metres wide it was the world’s largest swinging bridge. 

The Swing Bridge uses pressurised water to power hydraulic engines that turn the 3,000 tonne central span of the bridge. It is kept in working order by the Port of Tyne’s engineers, who test the swinging mechanism on the first Wednesday of every month at 2pm (subject to operations).  

Members of the public can visit the bridge and see its Pump Room and Engine Rooms by appointment. Take a look at the leaflet below or contact heritage@portoftyne.co.uk for more information.

Taking place over two weekends in September, the 2018 Heritage Open Days will once again offer visitors the opportunity to tour the Swing Bridge with a Blue Badge Guide. Heritage Open Day bookings are not managed by the Port of Tyne and should be made by clicking here

Swing Bridge Leaflet