Tees Newport Bridge

The Tees Newport Bridge in Middlesbrough is one of the oldest lifting bridges in the UK, built in 1933, or, as I refer to it… the ‘metal monster’.

Under Construction: An iconic scene of workers stood hundreds of feet high with no safety equipment in use. Image credit: My Town, My Future
The bridge gantry seen under construction without the road deck circa 1930.
Image credit: My Town, My Future

When I was a child the area of the bridge was always synonymous with the giant waste incinerator plant that was home next door. The incinerator’s access roads curled round and underneath the bridge itself and headed up raised concrete ramps allowing you to drive your car straight inside the belly of the giant beast. It always fascinated and repulsed me in equal measures. Peering out from the car window (I was never allowed out) you could see the most enormous stinking pit of rubbish off the concrete precipice edge and a giant metal claw dragging huge handfuls of rubbish into the centre of the glowing wall of fiery blaze.

Even by the area’s industrial heritage the site was an eyesore and it was demolished just before the turn of the millennium.

I wanted to capture how the bridge looks as it approaches its centenary and the turn of a new decade. In more recent years it has been refurbished with major renewal on much of the steelwork and paintwork, restoring the bridge back to its original colours (grey and red) and a new LED light system installed. The local council can now alter the lighting scheme as it wishes.

Each Christmas it is lit up with the colours of the rainbow and the colours ripple down the bridge gently. The top of the bridge remains lit a bright blue.

The Shots

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Christmas colours on the heavy steelwork.
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Dodging the traffic for a shot inside the bridge deck.
Another shot from the centre of the road, a contrast between the dark of the night and the bright colours of the gantry. Its hulking frame when stood underneath reminds me of a metal monster.
The Tees Newport Bridge from above, captured by drone.
Facing head-on down the bridge, testing out the Sony FE 135mm f/1.8.
A long exposure of vehicles passing under the bridge from the safety of the pavement.


A short sequence of timelapse footage captured on 22nd December 2019.

Extra Info

Stockton Council’s Festival Lighting programme is agreed annually and runs January – December. It includes lighting of the Riverside, Newport Bridge and Town Centre lighting columns / fountain lights. These are the upcoming dates for 2020.
Date EventColour(s)
 January 27  Holocaust Memorial Day Purple
 February  LGBT History Month Multi
 February 4  World Cancer Day Orange
 February 24 – March 7   Fairtrade Fortnight Blue/Green
 March 8  International Women’s Day White/Purple/Green
 March 28  Earth Hour (8.30pm-9.30pm) Switched off
 April 2  Autism Acceptance Day Gold
 April 23  St George’s Day Red/White
 April 29 – May 5  Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week TBC
 May 11 – 17  National Dementia Action Week Purple
 June 1-7  National Volunteering Week Red/Purple
 June 8 – 14  National Carers Week Blue
 June 27  Armed Forces Day Red/White/Blue
 September 4 World Sexual Health Awareness Day TBC
 October 1  Stoptober Red
 October 9-15  Baby Loss Awareness Week Pink/Blue
 October 10  World Mental Health Day Purple
 October 16  Show Racism the Red Card Red
 November 11  Remembrance Day Red
 November 14  World Diabetes Day Blue
November 25 International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women  Orange

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