- The Old Bridge House Hotel
- The Quay - West Loo
- Cornwall PL13 2BU - England
- +44 (0)1503 263159
The Old Bridge House, located in West Looe, is a historic building with a fascinating history. It is situated in the town of Looe, which is divided into two parts by the River Looe. East Looe and West Looe are connected by a seven-arched bridge known as the Looe Bridge, and the Old Bridge House stands prominently at the entrance to the bridge on the West Looe side.
The Old Bridge House is believed to have been constructed in the early 19th century, although the exact date of its construction is uncertain. It served as the residence of the bridge keeper, who was responsible for maintaining and operating the Looe Bridge. The bridge keeper's duty was to collect tolls from anyone crossing the bridge, ensuring its upkeep and managing the flow of traffic.
The house itself is a small, three-story building with a charming and distinctive appearance. It is built of stone and features a hipped slate roof. Its most notable feature is the cantilevered balcony that extends from the first floor, offering panoramic views of the river, the bridge, and the surrounding area. The balcony is supported by wooden brackets and provides a picturesque spot to enjoy the scenery.
Over the years, the Old Bridge House has witnessed numerous changes and developments. The bridge, which was initially made of wood, was rebuilt in stone in the late 19th century to accommodate increasing traffic and provide a more durable structure. As technology advanced and bridge maintenance became less labor-intensive, the role of the bridge keeper diminished, and the house eventually ceased to serve its original purpose.
Today, the Old Bridge House is a popular landmark and visitor attraction in West Looe. It is often photographed due to its quaint appearance and prime location at the entrance to the Looe Bridge. The house has undergone restoration and preservation efforts to maintain its historical character, and it stands as a testament to the town's rich heritage.
Visitors to the Old Bridge House can explore the ground floor, which houses a small gift shop where local crafts and souvenirs can be purchased. The upper floors, unfortunately, are not open to the public. However, the balcony offers an excellent vantage point for appreciating the scenic beauty of the river and the town.
In summary, the Old Bridge House in West Looe is a charming historic building that served as the residence of the bridge keeper for the Looe Bridge. With its picturesque appearance and strategic location, it has become an iconic landmark in the town, attracting visitors who are captivated by its history and architectural charm.
- Architectural Style: The Old Bridge House is an excellent example of the Georgian architectural style, characterized by its symmetrical design, simple lines, and proportionate facade. Its hipped slate roof and stone construction are typical features of this period.
- Toll Collection: In the past, tolls were collected from pedestrians, carts, and carriages crossing the Looe Bridge. The funds collected helped finance the maintenance and repair of the bridge. Toll collection was a common practice for many historic bridges.
- Restoration Efforts: The Old Bridge House underwent significant restoration work in the 20th century to preserve its historic character. This included repairs to the exterior and structural elements to ensure its long-term stability.
- Historic Importance: The Old Bridge House is a Grade II listed building, which means it is recognized and protected for its special architectural or historic significance. This designation ensures that any alterations or modifications to the structure must be carried out in a way that preserves its heritage value.
- River Looe: The River Looe, which the Old Bridge House overlooks, has played a vital role in the town's history. It was once a bustling port, involved in fishing, boatbuilding, and trade. Today, the river remains an essential part of Looe's identity and is popular for boating and water activities.
- Old Bridge House in Popular Culture: The Old Bridge House has been featured in various media and artworks, including paintings and photographs, due to its scenic and historic appeal. It has also made appearances in travel guides and postcards, attracting visitors from around the world.
These footnotes provide additional context and insights into the Old Bridge House's significance, architecture, and cultural relevance.