Difference between revisions of "Magdalene Bridge"

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(Created page with "{{hatnote|Not to be confused with Magdalen Bridge in Oxford}} {{Infobox bridge |name=Magdalene Bridge |county=Cambridgeshire |city=Cambridge |picture=Magdalene Bridge, Cam...")
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|crosses=River Cam
|carries=Magdalene Street
|carries=Magdalene Street

Latest revision as of 18:27, 10 November 2019

Magdalene Bridge
Magdalene Bridge, Cambridge, England - DSCF2208.JPG
Carrying: Magdalene Street
Crossing: River Cam
Grid reference: TL44715896
Location: 52°12’35"N, 0°6’59"E
Design: Arch
Material: Cast iron
Built 1823
Architect: Arthur Browne

Magdalene Bridge carries Magdalene Street across the River Cam in Cambridge: it and the street are named after Magdalene College, one of the oldest of the colleges of the University of Cambridge. The bridge on this site was formerly known as the Great Bridge.

The bridge is a single span of cast iron, surmounted by an iron railing decoration terminating in ashlar piers. It is a Grade II listed building.

Magdalene College and St John's College stand on the bank of the Cam to the north-east and south-west of the bridge respectively.

This was the original point at which the Roman road around which Cambridge developed crossed the river, and the current Magdalene Bridge is the latest in a series of bridges to serve this task probably since the Roman period, but certainly since Anglo-Saxon age, when the town was named Grantanbrycg. It is therefore the bridge from which the City of Cambridge is named, and in turn is the only bridge in the British Isles which has a county named after it; Cambridgeshire.


A Roman road, the Via Devana, ran through what is now Cambridge and its course still forms the main axis of the town, known by several names in different stretches in the city centre, and as 'Magdalene Street' as it reaches the river. The road crossed the Cam at the point where Magdalene Bridge now stands. It is assumed that a bridge was built here in Roman days, not least because the town was then known as Duroliponte. It is known though that a bridge crossed the river here in Anglo-Saxon times: the river was then known as the 'Granta' (a usage which is retained for the river above Silver Street Bridge) and the town was named Grantanbrycg.

From Anglo-Saxon times, a series of wooden bridges crossed the Cam at this point, each known as 'the Great Bridge' and latterly as 'Magdalene Bridge' after the college.

In 1754, James Essex built the first stone bridge at this point.

In 1823, Essex's bridge was removed and the current bridge was raised, made of cast iron and designed by the architect Arthur Browne, of Norwich.

The bridge was repaired and strengthened in 1982.