Should Nanny Moore’s Bridge be painted black?

The good news is that Nanny Moore’s Bridge is to get a lick of paint, but some people in Bude are getting in a lather that it might not be its iconic blue.

I asked Councillor Peter La Broy how the paintwork job came about. He said:

I noticed the woodwork was looking a bit tatty last year and thought it would make a great community project to repaint it. I managed to get a small grant of £300 from Cornwall Council which should just about cover the cost of materials. The grant will be paid to Bude Stratton Town Council, so the materials can be purchased locally.

That’s great and well done to Peter for noticing and taking action. The sticking point is that black has been chosen by the elected representatives of Bude & Stratton Town Council, as historically it was thought to be black, and it would fit in with street furniture around the town.

This was Nanny Moore’s in the 1880s.

In this old postcard, it looks brown. Here, it is the current blue which many people in the town think has become its iconic colour, apt and appropriate for a seaside community. Apparently, it has been blue since the mid 20th century, but I’m not sure, so if any local historians can put the issue straight, that would be wonderful.

Anyway, a bit of fun, and I will not tell you what I think, but given the depth of feeling on this is so strong that I was asked to provide a referendum,  I have instead created a one question survey here so that Bude can express its view.  And go. I shall report back on the results and send them to the Town Council.  Please add your comments on the website so we don’t lose them.

Old photos courtesy of Ray Boyd.


A few notes on Nanny Moore’s Bridge.

Nanny Moore’s Bridge is a Grade II listed construction in Bude, originally with a cantilevered, liftable section for boats to pass underneath. It was listed in 1985. Originally named Bude Bridge it was renamed in the nineteenth century.

Now it is just a footbridge over the River Neet, but in its time, packhorses and carts also used it; it would have been bustling.  Now it is at its busiest for the duck race on Lifeboat Day.

The bridge was renamed after the 19th-century ‘dipper’ who lived in one of the nearby Levens cottages. Dippers (or bathing machine attendants) escorted ladies who wished to bathe in the sea. The question is why? Why name a bridge after one woman? What made her so special? What did she do to have a bridge named after her?  Does anyone know?

By the way, the bridge is also mentioned as a passe in a 1643 account of the Battle of Stamford Hill.

So, every time you walk across it, remember there’s a bucketload of history under your feet.


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