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The Bridge with three Names!

These pictures show Barming Bridge, also known as Kettle (....Cattle?) Bridge and St. Helen’s Bridge which has undergone a number of changes over the years! We can reach back to the early 1740's when measures were put in place to assist the navigation of the River Medway, local achives show that previously you could ford the river at this point (the verb ford describes crossing a body of water on foot at a shallow point or driving across it in a vehicle. The idea is that you're not using a bridge or a boat to cross the water. Ford also has a noun form, meaning a shallow point in a river or stream)...

 

The first back in 1795 when the bridge was destroyed due to flooding, and secondly in 1914, when a ten tonne traction engine fell through the bridge into the river below. Information on the replacement structure is scarce, if you know of any please do get in touch.

 

The old wooden structure was replaced by a concrete and steel structure in 1996, this however was not for the benefit of four wheeled transport but for the two or four legged kind. No doubt thought to be a practical idea at the time, but how ugly!

I wonder if anyone can recall the decisions that led the bridge to become a footbridge from it’s previous existance?

 

Please contact editor@thefarleighs.co.uk with any information you may have.

 

Thanks to Vicky McCarthy for supplying the photos.

 

Ed Boyd

Update from a St. Helens Lane Resident!

 

I believe the wooden bridge most recently in place became unsafe and wasn’t viable to repair. It was replaced with the current Bailey bridge as a temporary measure and signs reference the temporary closure to traffic were put up at the road junctions at either end.

 

There was a rumour that, once dismantled and removed, it was placed in storage and there was, for many years, a threat to reinstate it and the traffic! Thankfully, for those Living in St Helens Lane and in South Street, it was confirmed a few years ago that the footbridge would remain.

 

Thanks to Sally for this interesting snippet!