Artists and historians will be exploring the Tame and the area around, and the individual journeys through Witton and Perry Barr of residents past and present. There will be lots going on, including events, workshops, printed work and exhibitions for the whole community to get involved in.

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.


  1. Note water level on the (post-1932) b&w postcard image! Not sure of the season as the trees seem to be contradicting each other(?)

  2. Oh yes, it's really high isn't it! No way your walking under the bridge that day. Perhaps spring? As different trees come into leaf at different times.