Monday, 10 June 2013
The Zigzag Bridge
Perry Bridge, or the Zigzag bridge as it is affectionately known, has been a constant across the River Tame since 1711, and even before then a bridge crossed at this point. The bridge was built to improve the previous crossing by the Gough family, who resided in the nearby Perry Hall, a very fine home which is now demolished. This point is said to be where King Charles I crossed the Tame on his way to Aston Hall when that building was attacked during the Civil War.
The drawing of the zigzag bridge, above, was produced in 1798 and the bridge is thought to be the oldest non-building structure in Birmingham; the shape is so that pedestrians could get out of the way of the carts and carriages. It was usurped in 1931/2 when the larger Perry Bridge was built next to it (see below), but the 300 year old structure can still be used by pedestrians (and to play Pooh Sticks).
The area used to be very rural, as can be seen from the drawing below from 1801, showing a small cottage with the River Tame running by. Standing here today are some industrial buildings, and a green spot where herons like to sit and rest.
Images from a selection held at BMAG, the full collection can be viewed here.