Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 16, 2021
Webpage updated: September 16, 2021




It was all very well building some 2,200 new houses on the Whitleigh Housing Estate on the northern fringe of the City but unfortunately there was a valley between the houses and the shops and bus services in the main Crownhill Road.  The solution was to erect a footbridge spanning the valley.

Designed by The Prestressed Concrete Company Limited, the Bridge had an overall span of 362 feet and a clear width of 10 feet.  It was constructed by Plymouth City Council's own Works Department and was expected to be completed for a cost of 12,750.

Work started on the Bridge in January 1953.  Three tons of mild steel and 4 tons of high tensile steel were incorporated into the design because if reinforced concrete had been used it would have required approximately 50 tons of mild steel, which was not easily come by in those post-war days.  The approach from Whitleigh was across an 100 feet long embankment that reached a height of 25 feet at its highest point.  The Bridge then rose four feet to the centre and then dropped three feet on the Crownhill side.

Whitleigh Footbridge was declared open on Saturday September 5th 1953.  The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Plymouth, Alderman Sir Clifford Tozer (1889-1970) and Lady Tozer, each planted a tree at one of the entrances to the bridge.  Mr Jack King, chairman of the Works Committee, presented the Lord Mayor with a flower bowl made from a piece of granite from the Guildhall and Miss Jean Watson, the 10-years-old daughter of the City Engineer, Mr James Paton Watson (1898-1979), presented the Lady Mayoress with a bouquet of flowers.

At that time the cost of the bridge was given as 17,000 and the valley it crossed was said to be 400 feet in width and between 60 and 70 feet deep.