Your browser is unsupported and may have security vulnerabilities! Upgrade to a newer browser to experience this site in all it's glory.
Skip to main content

Hull Maritime volunteer and accredited tour guide, Janet Penny delves into the history of Drypool Bridge.


Drypool Bridge is one of the major links between the east and west of the city. It crosses the River Hull connecting Alfred Gelder Street and Clarence Street and is used by both traffic and pedestrians. Inside the bridge there is a network of rooms including the machine area and a room where staff can relax. Drypool and all the other bridges are controlled by the Harbour Master.

The bridge is built in the Scherzer Rolling Bascule design and opened in 1961. It replaced the previous old swing bridge which opened in 1889.

Originally painted blue it is now decorated in large green and yellow circles in celebration of John Venn the mathematician and philosopher who was born in the nearby village of Drypool in 1834. John Venn went on the invent the Venn Diagram still used today by mathematicians, statisticians and others. His success was celebrated during City of Culture 2017 when artist Sarah Daniels transformed the bridge with her striking design.

At the southeast corner of the bridge there is a memorial to a young man who went missing in 2012 but was last seen on Drypool Bridge, he was found a month later in the Humber estuary. His family and friends erected the memorial which consists of a poem which acts as a warning to others of the dangers of the river.

Drypool Bridge - image by Garry Ward

Requirement for a bridge:

The river has historically always been a major divide in the city. It was King Henry VIII who demanded the first bridge be built following his visit to the town in 1541.

The first bridge was built near to where the current North Bridge is positioned and at the time was the northern most point of the town just outside the wall.

This angered Sayer, Lord of Sutton, who operated a ferry in the area. Before bridges were built small ferries would transport people and goods from bank to bank. Now there are 14 bridges crossing the river which is the most in the country in such a short navigable stretch of water.

Images by Janey Penny and Garry Ward.

Free maritime guided tours will get start again on 11 February 2023. The walks start in the Museums Quarter, High Street. More info.