Park Road footbridge, Hadfield.

Park Road bridge            This article is of personal interest to the author, being a child who played in Bankswood Park from the late 1950s so was faced with the traffic hazard to get there.

Given the amount of traffic which goes "Over the Top", many people living in Hadfield today would probably be amazed that the railway bridge on Park Road, near the station, was purely a road bridge for well over 100 years after the coming of the line. For much of that time, of course, traffic would not have been much of a problem, especially with horse drawn vehicles. However, with the increase in motorised traffic it did become more of a hazard.

Things started to come to a head in the summer of 1953 when Castle School playing field was fenced off with concrete posts and chain link fencing. A number of concerned parents wrote to the Glossop Chronicle, in August 1953, concerned that children would try to get to the recreation ground in Bankswood Park more often. One parent described the fencing of the field as "the claiming of the children's recreation ground at Hadfield for the use of scholars of the Castle School only", pointing out that it had been used as a recreation ground by children for many years. The writer contnued that in order to find a field to play - Bankswood - children would have to cross a busy six-road junction and walk along a road bridge over the railway, without any footpaths, which was also a bus route. It was suggested that, in order to reduce the danger, a footbridge could be erected on one side of the bridge as had already been done at Woolley Bridge. The newspaper printed the photo on the left to illustrate the danger.
Despite the protests nothing happened and it was over four years (November 1958) before the matter was even discussed by Glossop and Derbyshire County Councils. The county surveyor reported there was little chance of a bridge being provided because grants for such work from the Ministry of Transport were so restricted. He asked if Glossop Council would help towards the cost, on the grounds that many people in Hadfield would use the footbridge to get to Bankswood Park. Glossop Council disagreed, thinking that, because Bankswood Park was not popular at the time, only a few of the people who would use such a footbridge would use it solely to get to the Park. Glossop Council felt it was the county's job to pay for a footbridge and urged that the county surveyor press for a footbridge in the interests of road safety.

The writer of the Watchman column referred to the fact that the borough surveyor had recently suggested that there was a need for a footpath over the Glossop brook at Manor Park Road at Old Glossop and the county had responded that a new footbridge there would have to take its place in the queue of highway jobs waiting to be done. Watchman's opinion was that it was surely obvious to all familiar with the traffic on the two roads that the suggested bridge at Park Road should be built with the minimum of delay, having been necessary "ever since the first double-decker bus piloted its way down this acute slope" - the wonder was that such a long period had elapsed since the commencement of the regular bus services.
           Park Road bridge
Park Road bridge                      Park Road bridge

The years rolled on and it was only the imminent coming of the Manchester overspill estate which spurred Glossop Council into action. Because of the assured increase in population of Hadfield, Councillor Fred Walton wanted an alternative pedestrian access for Bankswood Park, so that children and old people and those with prams would be able to move about in safety. His Hadfield colleagues, Councillor Briody-Duggan, Councillor Mrs Williams and Councillor C. Woolley were in complete agreement, speaking of the many vehicles which travelled up and down the road near the park.
Councillor H Taylor was concerned that Ministry approval was required for such schemes and that it would cost between four and five thousand pounds. Unlike the bridges at Woolley Bridge and between Hadfield and Tintwistle, where the cost had been divided between the Cheshire and Derbyshire County Councils, Derbyshire would have to pay it all at Bankswood.

Park Road bridge                      Park Road bridge

It was still almost another four years before anything happened but finally, on Sunday 24th April 1966, Hadfield Road was closed to all normal traffic so that the main girder for the bridge could be delivered to site.
A heavy lorry slowly dragged the main girders across Woolley Bridge, up Hadfield Road and round the corner near the Old Hall (the photo shows the lamp standard in its original position).
We lived at 68 Hadfield Road at the time (near Sparrow Park) and remember watching the girders being slowly inched round that corner, with banksmen making sure that there was no collision between the end of the girders and house walls.

The lorry finally reached its destination and large cranes lowered the girders into place.
When the footbridge was completed, shortly afterwards, it meant that pedestrians no longer had to face the dangers of traffic.

Park Road bridge                      Park Road bridge

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Last updated: 31 January 2021