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Document 35, Mr Smeaton's Memorial concerning Hexham Bridge, p 1

Mr Smeatons Memorial concerning Hexham Bridge
When Mr Smeaton was applied to by Mr Errington for the Building of
Hexham Bridge, it was not until after the Total Destruction of a Bridge
at the West end of the Tyne Green near that place, built under the patron-
-age of Sir Walter Blackett; which about 12 or 14 Months after it was
finished was totally destroyed by an Extraordinary Flood that has ever
since been distinguished by the name of Great inundation which hap-
-pened in November 1771:But as this Bridge was standing at Dark in
the Evening, and totally demolished the next morning, no other infor-
-mation could be drawn from this very Total and alarming Accident but
that this River was capable at times from certain combinations of Causes
of being swelled to a degree of Violence farr Exceeding any thing that had
before this been Experienced; handed down by Tradition, or imagined.
As an Evidence of this amongst many others that might be given
the water rose seven or eight feet or thereabouts upon the Main Ground
Floor of Mr Fenwicks new built Apartments at Bywell; which being
Erected from the Designs of that Eminent Architect Mr Payne it is not
likely that he would direct the main floor to be laid within flood mark,
as it had at that time been known, or then thought likewise to happen
And yet Bywell being many miles below the Junction of the two Tynes that
is of the North and South Tyne about a Mile above Hexham and after it had
had much Room to spread over the wide Haughs that lay between Hexham and
Corbridge and also the space between Corbridge and Bywell, we must
conclude that the rise of the water was less at Bywell than in the Neighbour-
-hood of Hexham.
Under this degree of Information and Experience of the Utility of a
Bridge at Hexham (Sir Walter Blackett having chose rather to forfeit the
penalty of a Bond of £3000 that he laid himself under for the upholding
thereof than attempt to rebuild, or re establish the Bridge) the Reerection was
taken up by the County and for this purpose consulted that Eminent Engineer
Mr Wooler then Engaged for the Town of Newcastle in the reestablishment of
1 Tyne

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Transcribed by CTW and TB