HERE'S a man wearing the look of pride you get from a job well done.

The date is October 1963, and the man is Mr CJ Minter, the former York city engineer. And the bridge he's looking at? Clifton Bridge, of course - which Mr Minter and his team from the city engineers' department helped to build.

There had been talk of building a bridge here at Clifton, on the site of an old ferry crossing, for at least 50 years - plans had been put before the council in 1913. They came to nothing. In 1932, the plans were revived, as part of a scheme for an outer ring road, but again nothing happened.

By 1955, some preliminary work actually began on a scheme for a bridge at Clifton. But these plans too fizzled out.

In 1961, however, a young woman called Katharine Worsley married the Duke of Kent in York's own version of a Royal Wedding at York Minster. In order to handle the extra traffic anticipated, the army put up a temporary bridge across the river at Clifton. That temporary bridge was so successful that it finally paved the way for a permanent bridge to be built.

The bridge took two years to complete, and cost £230,000 to build: which prompted The Yorkshire Evening Press of October 25, 1963, to make a few snarky comments.

“The cost now: £230,000,” the newspaper reported. “The cost if it had been built 50 years ago: about £35,000.”

Still, today even that £230,000 seems like good value. Mr Minter had good reason for his pride. It is hard to imagine York without the bridge now...

Stephen Lewis