Armstrong Bridge was designed by William Armstrong and built at his Elswick Works on the Tyne, it has a span of 168 metres (552 feet). The Bridge took two years to build and was opened in 1876 at a cost of £30,000. When it was finished Armstrong gave it to the people of Newcastle along with the Park, it was used by pedestrians, horses and later on cars.
The bridge affords magnificent views of Jesmond Dene which was another of the great mans lasting legacies. It is said that Lady Armstrong took pity on horses toiling up Benton Bank, pulling carts laden with coal or market produce and suggested a high level bridge to her husband. A bridge was built at the Elswick Works, opened in 1878 and later presented to the borough.
Motor traffic was stopped in 1963 and after pedestrianisation a market was established. A delightful arts and craft market, held here regularly on Sunday mornings, continues to this day.
Lord Armstrong created many water features throughout Jesmond Dene as part of his landscaping, features which we can enjoy to this day…. He added new ponds and built rapids, weirs and waterfalls to bring movement to the river.
His biggest project was the creation of this waterfall and the deep gorge you can see downstream. Explosives were used to blast out rock and the stone was used to build up the sides of the waterfall.
There is a sluice gate behind it which could open and close to change the flow of water.
Armstrong aimed to sculpt the river, creating dramatic features that looked natural. However if you look closely at the stone below the mill you might spot the joins where the rocks were cemented together.
After heavy rains torrents of water rush down the falls filling the valley with sound.
Tucked away near the waterfall Armstrong made a grotto from an old quarry. The grotto was designed to give the visitor an experience of underground mystery.