Gloucester Street bridge

Gloucester Street bridge crosses the Avon River and was built in 1887.

Canterbury Public Library
Canterbury Public Library. © Christchurch Star

In 1862 a swing bridge crossing the Avon River was built by the Provincial Council at a point just downstream from the present bridge site.

Although a bridge for Gloucester Street had been included in a budget set aside by the Christchurch City Council in 1885 for bridge construction, it was the flooding of the Avon River in May 1886 which provided the impetus for the City Surveyor, Charles Walkden, to show the council his plans for a new bridge. After the tender of William Stocks was accepted, the foundations for the bridge were laid in October 1886.

Consisting of a single span, the bridge was designed in a neo-Gothic manner. The abutment piers and the wingwalls were originally Mount Somers limestone. The iron balustrades were cast from the same design as the balustrades on Victoria Bridge and were provided by Scott Brothers.

On 14 December 1886 the mayor, Aaron Ayers laid the cap stone on the first pier. The bridge was completed in January 1887.

Although it was reported in 1928 that the bridge required widening in order to assist with the relief of traffic congestion, the work to carry this out did not commence until 1936. Due to the condition of the abutment piers and wingwalls, the original stone work was replaced with concrete. The work was completed in December 1886 and the bridge was officially reopened on 18 January 1937 by Mary Ann Beanland, the wife of the mayor, John Beanland. The bridge either had temporary footpaths or none at all until 1939, as the discovery of newspapers dated to October 1939 under an asphalt layer in the footpath place the construction of the bridge footpaths to around this time. 

The bridge was damaged in the 2010-2011 earthquakes and closed to vehicular traffic in 2013. After repairs were carried out by Fletcher the bridge reopened in December 2016.