By kkeps @ 2008-11-09 10:38:29
'A ford from earliest times, the site of Bedford bridge has yielded roman and medieval coins. Edward the Elder occupied the town and built a burh south of the river in 915. It is possible that the first bridge was constructed to link the southern burh with an existing settlement north of the river. George Noble's engraving depicts the first stone bridge, known as The Great Bridge, with a toll booth (on the left) and what was possibly the chapel of St Thomas on the right. Both buildings were demolished in 1765. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1803 for the improvement of Bedford and the rebuilding of the dilapidated and decaying bridge. The remnants of the first bridge are seen being removed in the oil by George Arnald. The replacement bridge designed by John Wing, and seen in Robert Havell's lithograph, was completed in 1813. The width of the bridge was doubled in 1938 to the size we know today.'