"Wylam is most famous as the birthlace of railway engineer George Stephenson (1781-1848), whose cottage still stands, just half a mile east of the village.It is owned by The National Trust and open to the public at certain times."
At the time tbe bridge was constructed Wylam was an industrial village with mining and ironworks. The bridge was provided by public subscription and owned by the Wylam Bridge Company. It linked the ironworks on the north side with the railway on the south, the railway to North Wylam along the north bank of the Tyne not yet having been built, although a wagonway to Lemington existed. The bridge was reportedly a combined road and railway bridge originally, and had a timber deck supported on stone piers.
A new bridge company replaced the timber decking with steel in 1897 when the bridge was no longer in use by rail traffic. It was again replaced in 1946 and in 1960 the bridge still had an old tollhouse at the south end although the company had erected a new one at the north end in 1899. Pedestrians were charged one penny to cross but an agreement between the landowner and the bridge company when the bridge was constructed allowed free passage to some of the well-off residents. Opposition to the tolls led eventually to itw acquisition by Northumberland County Council and from 1936 it was freed from toll. Before construction of the bridge, the river was forded. In 1942 strengthening and widening was carried out by the Ministry Of Transport so that it could be used by tanks. Flood damage and erosion forced replacement of two piers in the 1950s and the bridge was widened in 1959 to 24 feet, including a 6 foot wide path. A weight restriction of 9 tons was imposed in 1960, later raised to 10 tons. Following concerns over the safety of the railings Following impact by cars, the bridge was closed for several weeks in 2007 for safety improvements.
George Stephenson the railway engineer was born near Wylam and you can visit his cottage which is now in the care of the National Trust.