Harrington Bridge

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Harrington Bridge
Derbyshire, Leicestershire
Harrington Bridge,19 January 2008 (Geograph 662651).jpg
Harrington Bridge from the Leicestershire bank
Carrying: B6540
Crossing: River Trent
Grid reference: SK47133111
Location: 52°52’31"N, 1°18’4"W
Length: 800 feet
Main span: 200 feet
Built 1789-1790
Architect: Thomas Harrison

Harrington Bridge crosses the River Trent near Sawley in Derbyshire carrying the Tamworth Road (B6540) into Leicestershire. The stonework of the bridge dates from 1790, but the central section was replaced in 1905 after it was damaged by flood water. The central section is the only part of the bridge that is not a listed building.[1]


Crossings at this point date at least from the 14th century when several timber bridges were built. Although one lasted 80 years, they were all washed away and in 1321 a ferry at Sawley was initiated.

The existing bridge dates from 1789 to 1790 and was designed by the bridge engineer and architect, Thomas Harrison of Lancaster.[2] The new bridge was a toll bridge and everyone except locals living in Sawley or Hemington (in Leicestershire) were required to pay the toll. The Lord of the Manor and his servants were also specifically excluded from toll charges.

In 1792, a ford to the west of the bridge became impassable as a result of a weir built at Redhill in Nottinghamshire which must have increased the income from tolls.[3] The Lord of the Manor from 1779 was Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington.

An old postcard of the bridge

The Act of Parliament authorising the construction of the bridge dates from 1788.[4]

Harrington Bridge consisted of six arches of stone, which, with the approaches, were about 100 yards long, and 15 feet wide, with a toll house. The first bridge was washed down by the great flood before it was completed, previous to which here was a ford.[5] The bridge was erected by shareholders, at a cost of around £4,000 and tolls were levied to those crossing the bridge until 1882.

The bridge was damaged in floods during 1904. In 1906 a two-span riveted steel girder bridge was erected replacing the central section, retaining the original stone approach arches. The remaining parts of the original bridge are designated Grade II listed structures.[1][6][7]

It now carries Tamworth Road, the B6540, (formerly the A453) over the river providing a link between Leicestershire and Derbyshire.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Harrington Bridge)


  1. 1.0 1.1 National Heritage List 1064258: Stone-built part of Harrington Bridge
  2. A biographical dictionary of civil engineers in Great Britain and Ireland. A. W. Skempton
  3. The Long Eaton and Sawley Archive
  4. An Act for building a Bridge over the River Trent at or near Sawley Ferry in the Counties of Derby and Leicester. George III, CAP. 80
  5. Directory of Derbyshire. 1857. White.
  6. National Heritage List 1087977: North section of Harrington Bridge
  7. National Heritage List 1204305: Section of Harrington Bridge (Grade II listing)