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The bridge that was once so similar to ours...

AN IMAGE of a long-lost transporter bridge has been gifted to the visitor centre of Teesside's own iconic structure.

When Dr Alan Dowson happened across the image of the Port of Marseille while in France, the similarity of the two bridges struck him immediately.

But while the imposing structure on Teesside has recently enjoyed a multi-million pound improvement programme and is now a visitor destination, its French counterpart was blown up by the Nazis in 1944 in an effort to stop the allies liberating Marseille.

Dr Dowson now lives in Peterborough but was brought up on Wilson Street in Middlesbrough and worked on the Transporter Bridge briefly in 1961-62 while a student.

He gained his PhD in local history and continues to contribute to events such as Discover Middlesbrough.

"I was in Granville in Normandy and I saw in the window of an antique shop was a picture of a transporter bridge which the shopkeeper let me have for 25 euros," said the 77-year-old.

"There are transporter bridges all over the world but our Transporter Bridge is an emblem that represents Teesside and is known across the world.

"When people know you come from Middlesbrough the first thing they say is 'Transporter Bridge'.

"I thought this was a simple way of showing kids a little about their own heritage and how it fits into the wider world."

Dr Dowson was joined by his childhood friend Colin Stewart, 75, from Coulby Newham. Mr Stewart, an amateur artist, also presented one of his own pictures of the Transporter Bridge to bridge supervisor John Ivison and Middlesbrough's deputy mayor Charlie Rooney.

Cllr Rooney said: "We are very grateful to both Dr Dowson and Mr Stewart for their very kind gifts.

"The Transporter Bridge evokes a real passion from people on Teesside and hopefully these two pictures help inspire younger generations in their own different ways."

CAPTION(S):

| From left, Dr Alan Dowson, deputy mayor Charlie Rooney, Isabel |Rooney, 11, Colin Stewart and Transporter Bridge supervisor John Ivison with the picture of a similar but long-lost structure in Marseille, above left

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 21, 2015
Words:347
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