Panel B – Horse Transfer Bridges

The bridges you see here are replicas of the originals demolished during the 1930s. Design for the reconstruction was done by IWPS volunteers and the building by trainees under the government’s Job Creation Scheme of the 1980s and early 1990s. The large amount of stone required for the reconstruction was collected by IWPS volunteers who demolished two farm buildings standing on the line of the bypass, together with several railway stations’ buildings and platforms including the ones at Chinley. Most of the recovered stone had originated from Crist and Barrenclough Quarries near Bugsworth.

The 151 year-old horse-drawn boat Maria here being loaded with 20 tons of limestone much as she was when operating from Bugsworth Basin.

The original bridges, numbered 58 and 59, spanning the Lower Basin and its adjacent arm, were built such that horse- drawn boats heading for the Middle and Upper basins had no need to unhitch. Boats entering the arms were poled in and out of their moorings.

Taken in about 1927 this photograph was donated to the IWPS by Mr Laurence Draper whose mother Minnie (née Drinkwater) is one of the ladies on the bridge.

The original bridges were spanned by beams of Baltic pine and decked with planks of the same material. The replicas’ beams are of rolled steel and are decked with planks of Ekki, a renewable sourced African hardwood. The deck is covered with a non-slip surface to minimise risk to visitors. The replicas follow the original design as closely as possible but with two of the three ramps lengthened to make them less steep and more easily accessible by the disabled.