A HISTORY academic and Middlesbrough fan has teed up today’s FA Cup clash with Newport County AFC by taking a deeper look at the history and links between the ports’ iconic transporter bridges.

Today’s ‘Transporter Derby’, as it has been dubbed by Dr Tosh Warwick, sees Pill born Tony Pulis take on his home town club.

But what is the history of the landmark bridges?

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Dr Warwick, of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “The Grade I-Listed Newport Transporter Bridge and Grade II-Listed Tees Transporter Bridge can be traced back to the issue of crossing busy tidal rivers to access docks, iron and steelworks for work.”

South Wales Argus:

(Newport transporter bridge blueprints. Credit: Gwent Archives)

The first modern transporter bridge opened in 1893 in Spain, with Newport’s bridge officially opened on September 12, 1906, by Godfrey Morgan, Viscount Tredegar, at a rain-soaked ceremony.

It was built so crossings could be made without impeding the then busy river passage.

“Just as 113 years later Pulis provides a connection between South Wales and the Tees Valley, there was a connection between the two areas in the realisation of the Newport scheme,” added Dr Warwik.

“Cleveland Bridge – who would go on to design Middlesbrough’s bridge – were amongst the firms that worked on Newport’s industrial icon, which also boasts steelwork stamped ‘Dorman Long’ – the Middlesbrough steel firm responsible for the construction of Sydney Harbour Bridge.”

South Wales Argus:

(The Tees transporter bridge under construction in Middlesbrough. Credit: Middlesbrough Libraries)

Middlesbrough’s Transporter Bridge was opened on October 17, 1911, providing a crucial link for ironworkers across the River Tees from the ‘Ironopolis’ of Middlesbrough.

Dr Warwick also said: “Both bridges would play a vital role in the infrastructure and economy of their towns in the ensuing decades and would survive two World Wars – unlike a number of their sister bridges on the continent – with the Tees landmark withstanding a Luftwaffe bomb.”

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Commenting on the game, Dr Warwick added: “Saturday’s game in the shadow of one of the two iconic bridges will hopefully prove to be a classic that brings together two towns and supporters alike not only connected by their landmark ‘flying ferries’ but also shared experiences of the ups and downs of life in an industrial community, a common heritage...and desire to reach the Fifth Round of the FA Cup.”

*We're running a live blog from 12pm today with all the build up and action from the Riverside. Tweet us and get involved using the hashtag #OneClubOneCounty.