Lancashire At War.co.uk

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

Inglis Bridge - A WW1 invention rebuilt

Inglis Bridge, St Catherine’s Park, Lostock Hall near Leyland

 

The Inglis Portable Military Bridge was a light weight ‘kit’ bridge that could be rapidly built and used to move supplies and troops quickly at the World War One battle front. Today in St Catherine’s Park, Lostock Hall near Leyland there is a newly built replica of the bridge across the River Lostock.

 

The original bridge was designed by Charles Inglis in 1913. Its structure is modular, meaning it can be built in sections and extended . The steel tube girders are assembled into strong triangle shapes and fixed together to form pyramids. In its first demonstration of its suitability for a war environment, untrained Army Service Corps members built a 108 foot long version in only 13 minutes.

 

The quick assembly of such a bridge was essential. They were put together by ‘Sappers’ which were soldiers with specialised engineering skills. They would construct the bridge on one side of the bank and then swing it over the river to reach the other side. All the time that they were doing this they could be under enemy fire. As the fighting front moved forwards, the bridges would be taken apart and new permanent ones put in their place. The Inglis Bridge was then ready to be reassembled further forwards on the new battle front.

 

The ‘light’ version could carry a single line of soldiers over a 96 foot span, and two of these could be constructed side by side to carry a 3 ton vehicle. Later a ‘heavy’ version was created that could carry up to 7 tons. The bridges were still being used at the start of the Second World War.

 

The replica one we have in the park today is one of the ‘heavy’ versions, designed by Inglis in 1915. The information boards on the site give more of the history and deployment of these bridges, along with diagrams of its patented design. You can walk across the bridge and see how it is constructed up close as it crosses the River Lostock.

 

Access and Parking

Park at the new free car park at Todd Lane South and follow the signs to the bridge and war memorial.

 

It’s not far from the BQ and Sainsburys just in between Bamber Bridge and Lostock Hall, near Leyland

 

References

On site interpretation boards

 

St Catherine’s Park : Central Parks leaflet by South Ribble and St Catherine’s Hospice

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ABOVE & BELOW: The newly built WW1 replica Inglis portable bridge in St Catherine's Park, Lostock Hall near Leyland.