Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Craigavon Bridge - Happy Birthday

Commemorative Programme for official
opening of Craigavon Bridge

Today marks the seventy ninth anniversary of the official opening of the Craigavon Bridge by Sir Percy Walter Greenaway the Lord Mayor of London. The bridge is named after the Right Hon. The Viscount Craigavon the then Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. As with its predecessor, the Carlisle Bridge, the lower deck of the new bridge was constructed for railway traffic and had timber decking.

The opening ceremony appears to have been a very grandiose affair. A total of thirty three official cars were at the front of the procession and they were followed by three State Coaches. In the last of these was Sir Walter Greenaway accompanied by his wife, the Lady Mayoress, and attended by The Sword Bearer and The Common Cryer and Sergeant-at-Arms. The Procession assembled in Ebrington Military Barracks and proceeded to the new bridge via Limavady Road, Clooney Terrace and Spencer Road. On arrival  a  guard of honour provided by the 2nd Batt. The Leicestershire Regiment was inspected by the Lord Mayor. The naming and official opening occurred at 11.15 immediately after a commemorative golden dagger had been presented to him.

Following the opening ceremony the procession proceeded to the Diamond where it was met by a Guard of Honour of the British Legion and the Band of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. A wreath was laid at the war memorial by Sir Walter. From the Diamond the procession progressed to the Guilhall where a further Guard of Honour was inspected. Those taking part in the State Procession then moved to the Council Chamber where the Freedom of The City was bestowed upon the Lord Mayor. A celebratory luncheon followed. The festivities continued with a garden party at Brooke Park hosted by Sir Dudley and Lady McCorkell, Mayor and Mayoress of Londonderry. The day concluded with Sir Percy Greenaway and his wife, accompanied by the Sheriffs, leaving Waterside Railway Station by special train.

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