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Old Shoreham Bridge, 1904

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Today’s smattering of snow in Brighton has inspired us to look at some wintry scenes in our fine art collection.

This 1904 oil painting by William Henry Boyd captures the loneliness and cold of a trudge through nearby Shoreham.

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The bridge depicted here crosses the Adur river, at the northwest edge of the town. It was built in the early 1780s to replace the ferry crossing between Shoreham and Lancing. It originally operated as a toll bridge, with passengers and carriages paying rates according to the number of animals that accompanied them. In the 1860s it was taken over by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway company, which had constructed the nearby railway line between Shoreham and Horsham.

Boyd’s painting captures a view west across the bridge towards Lancing, with the rolling Downs in the background. A cold and snowy day, there is no traffic on the bridge except for a sole pedestrian. Look closely and he seems to have his shoulders hunched against the cold.

The bridge was rebuilt in 1916, just over a decade after this painting was made. It was restored in 2008 and enables many walkers and cyclists to access the popular Downs Link route that follows the course of the now disused railway line.

Kevin Bacon, Digital Manager