Call for historic Sheffield footbridge to be restored and reopened in centenary year of last refurbishment

A campaigner has called for Sheffield’s first iron bridge to be restored and reopened to the public, 100 years after its last major refurbishment.

By Molly Williams, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 17th June 2021, 2:20 pm

Russell Johnson asked Sheffield Council to invest in Bridgehouses footbridge in Neepsend which he said was built in 1795, refurbishment in 1841, destroyed by the Great Flood in 1864 and rebuilt the following year.

He said its last major refurbishment was in 1921 and the Friends of Bridgehouses has carried out some restoration work, installed interpretations boards and historical information but it was now in need of further attention.

He said: “My question is this: please would the council a) consider some sponsorship in the centenary year of the last major renovation to enable the friends group to improve, preserve and interpret the city’s historic gem and its surrounding green area? And b) would the council please investigate the feasibility of reopening the footbridge for pedestrian use?”

The footbridge.

Councillor Douglas Johnson, executive member for environment, climate change and transport, said: “I do know the bridge, I didn’t realise it was actually the centenary of its last refurbishment, that’s quite an interesting step forward.

“In terms of sponsorship, I don’t know so what I’ve said I’ll do is talk to councillor Teal who is one of the other executive members responsible for potentially things like this and no doubt we will go away and talk to officers about what can be done.

“So without making promises, it would be good to make a feature of it. What I do know is the friends group there has done a good job and a very understated way of making that a little feature in what otherwise is a big traffic island.

“Secondly, on the way of opening up to foot traffic, I think that is a really interesting idea and it’s something I’ve been looking at a number of times but it is a very difficult job, partly because it is in the middle of a traffic island and also because there is a huge gap in level there. So it’s not a particularly easy one.

The footbridge.

“I don’t think there are any current plans for that but because I often walk past it, I’m not going to forget that one.”