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The Cowes Floating Bridge, Isle Of Wight

March 21, 2012 by TidiousTed

The 1896 bridge was the first built by Whites of Cowes. In 1909 the ferry received the newer boiler from the 1882 ferry which was being withdrawn. The ferry was sold to yacht builderUffa Fox around 1925, who used it as both workshop and house.


The Cowes Floating Bridge is a vehicular chain ferry which crosses the River Medina on theIsle of Wight, off the south coast of England. The ferry crosses the tidal river from East Cowes to Cowes. The first floating bridge between East Cowes and Cowes was established in 1859 and is one of the few remaining that has not been replaced by a physical bridge. The service is owned and operated by the Isle of Wight Council, who have run it since 1901.

Before any kind of floating bridge existed, a rowing boat ferry operated between Cowes and East Cowes transporting pedestrians only. This service was owned and operated by the Roberton family from 1720 to 1859. From 1842 cars and animals could be transported across using a pontoon which was winched across under horse power. In 1859 the Floating Bridge Company was formed and bought the ferry rights. From 24 November 1859 the first steamboat was used, built on the River Itchen in Southampton. In 1868 the ferry was bought by The Steam Packet Company (which now trades as Red Funnel), and bought a new ferry for the service in 1882. This was used regularly until 1896 when it was used only as a spare when a new ferry was purchased.

Originally posted 2016-06-03 21:18:13.

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  1. The August 2011 issue of WoodenBoat Magazine has an article on Uffa Fox, with another (very different) pic of this same ‘bridge’, plus a little more history regarding the home he and his wife, Alma, made of it.

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