The History Anorak

The History Anorak

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Humber

The Humber Bridge spans the Humber estuary just outside this year's City of Culture, Hull. To mark the city's place as a centre of culture a number of its structures have been given listed building status - including the bridge, which is now officially Grade I.

At the time of its construction, (it opened in June 1981) it was the longest bridge of its kind in the world. As a measure of architectural development it now stands at only eighth. It's a significant landmark and recognised for miles around. It has come to symbolise the city, appearing on many of its publicity materials.

Before its construction the route from bank to bank across the estuary went via Goole and passed across a rather smaller swing bridge. The leading roads had high accident rates and often faced difficulties in poor weather.

The view from the deck
The central span is 1,410 metres (4,626 feet - or around 200 yards short of a mile) and is suspended between two towers 155.5 metres (510 feet) tall. although both towers are vertical they are further apart at the top than the bottom, owing to the curvature of the earth.

Oh, and everyone locally remembers the summer of 1976 when the area around the bridge (and much of the rest of East Yorkshire) suffered a plague of ladybirds. The insects settled on the bridge, wriggling into small crevices and setting work back weeks while constructors cleared them away from sensitive parts of the structure!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Arbor Low



Arbor Low, Derbyshire is a prehistoric henge monument, that is, it consists of a circle of stones set inside a circular ditch with a bank enclosing the complete structure.  It is unclear what henges were used for but it seems likely that whatever went on there was designed to be seen only by a few chosen people. The bank around the monument would have made it impossible to see activities within the stone circle from outside. Perhaps observers sat on the inner side of the bank, but it would still have been available to only a restricted few.

Bank and ditch arrangement
The site is a Neolithic one, built around 5,000 years ago from locally quarried limestone. Superimposed on it is a burial mound dating from the Bronze Age, which was excavated in the 19th century and found to contain two urn burials.  The stones would originally have been upright but they are all now fallen over. There are a number of entrances to the circle that show as gaps in the bank and there is some evidence that a processional way might once have led from the south because there is a linear earthwork close to the southern entrance.  About 250 metres away on a horizon to the south west is another Bronze Age burial mound called Gib Hill. It too lies over an earlier monument, a Neolithic long barrow that probably pre-dates the circle.


Arbor Low stands on private land behind a farm at the top of a fairly steep hill. The view from the site is extremely dramatic as it is possible to see for a very long way. Whoever built the site must either have wanted the mound to be visible from a great distance or to be able to see anyone approaching it.
(This post was originally published as part of the HistoryAnorak website.