Broughton Suspension Bridge was a suspended-deck suspension bridge built in 1826 to span the River Irwell between Broughton and Pendleton, now in Greater Manchester, England. It was one of the first suspension bridges constructed in Europe. On 12 April 1831 the bridge collapsed, reportedly owing to a mechanical resonance induced by troops marching over the bridge in step. A bolt in one of the stay-chains snapped, causing the bridge to collapse at one end, throwing about forty of the men into the river. As a result of the incident the British Military issued an order that troops should "break step" when crossing a bridge.
The bridge's construction has been attributed to Samuel Brown, but this has been questioned; some sources have suggested that it may have been built by Thomas Cheek Hewes, a Manchester millwright and textile machinery manufacturer.
The bridge was rebuilt and used until 1914, when it was replaced by a Pratt truss pedestrian bridge, which is still in use.
By kjfitz @ 2011-03-03 14:35:42