Crossing the Creek and Progress in building the bridge

The video shows various vehicles crossing Benfleet Creek and the state of progress in building the bridge.

The Colvin Bridge had a formal Pile Driving Ceremony on 21st May 1930. This video shows progress in building the bridge and the stepping stone crossing to Canvey Island at the time it was being built. We do not have an exact date for the film but it is likely to be around late summer 1930. The reason is that the bridge is only part built but people are lightly dressed.

Canvey Bridge being built

Views of vehicles crossing Benfleet Creek and also showing progress in building the Colvin Bridge (3 mins 7 secs)

We see a man sweeping the ground. Most likely he is filling in ruts. We see a horse and cart come across the creek to Benfleet. There are two buses waiting on the Canvey side and one follows the horse and cart. In the background we can see the pile driving rig flying the Union Jack.

We then see a truck which has broken down. He spends a considerable time cranking it as the water rises, while trying to keep his feet dry. He eventually steps into the water.

We then see two trucks crossing to Canvey. The second bus is still on the Canvey side and the broken down truck is still there.

We then see a car go across. Our broken truck is still there.

Then a truck with a pipe on it crosses. Our broken truck is still there.

Finally the broken truck is started and drives away. The camera then sweeps along the bridge to show the state of construction.

The second bus starts to cross. The camera swings around to show another view of the construction progress.

We then see a Rolls Royce crossing the creek.

Then a man carrying a bike crossing on the stepping stones.

Then two more men carrying bikes across the stepping stones.

Progress just Prior the Bridge Opening

The two postcards show the bridge just prior to its opening. The date is most likely to be April 1931. This is because men are still working but there is little plant around. The centre section is opened so it is possible that the sliding mechanism is being tested. Some of the men appear to be looking at the gap. We know the bridge is not open as the ferry boats can be seen in both pictures.

The Colvin Bridge under construction in 1930. We see buses and tankers still crossing the creek while the bridge is being built in the background.
R.F. Postcards Collection
Bridge just prior to the opening.
From the Peter Gillard collection
The bridge just prior to opening in 1931
From the Peter Gillard collection

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  • I thoroughly enjoyed, and found very interesting the vehicles crossing the Benfleet Creek as the Colvin Bridge was built. Someone must have had some influence for Pathe to have been there for the pile driving ceremony.

    By Christopher Davis (01/12/2015)

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