Since Roman times the people of Newnham and Arlingham have expressed a desire to cross the river by any means possible, ford, tunnel, bridge or ferry.
This map shows the line of the 1810 tramway tunnel, the 1948 bridge, the ferry and the medieval ford. Source: Antiquities of Arlingham copyright Arlingham Church Council with thanks.
Within the massive collection of Riverabilia of the late Fred Rowbotham was this sketch for a bridge at Newnham.. author unknown.
Arlingham to Newnham Road Bridge
It is known that a ferry existed between Arlingham Passage and Newnham since the early 1800’s and with the coming of the Railway a popular means of travel for people in Arlingham was to cross the river by ferry and take the train. Routinely, my grandfather Hugh Shaw would berth at one of the South Wales Ports and take the train to Newnham before using the ferry to get home. My Mother would walk down Arlingham Passage, take the ferry across the river then the train from Newnham into Gloucester.
In 1939 the Old Passage Ferry Company who had the rights to the Aust Ferry purchased the rights to the Newnham Ferry and intended to construct a chain ferry.
Post war Enoch Williams the owner of the ferry company purchased a series of floating “ Lily Pads” and constructed part of a floating bridge. However strong tides broke up the structure before it was completed and the bridge removed.