Bridges – a personal challenge for Tommy

Tommy Burns made his first recorded bridge dive from Runcorn Railway Bridge. Photo courtesy Pete Blackmore.

For most people, bridges are a convenient way of getting from A to B, but for Tommy Burns, bridges presented a personal challenge and he travelled the UK and Ireland to perform sensational dives from them.

He would arrive in town, distribute posters and leaflets, and benefit from collections among the crowds who would turn up to see his performances. His marketing methods were highly effective and crowds of up to 20,000 were reported.

Unfortunately for Tommy, the police and bridge authorities would also get to hear of his plans and try to stop him.

The following dives and attempted dives were recorded in newspapers of the day but there were probably many more which escaped media attention.

1889, 9th October – Runcorn: Runcorn Bridge (aka  Ethelfleda’s Bridge or Britannia Bridge). Read more>>>

1889, 14th October – London: London Bridge. Read more>>>

1889, 26th October – Runcorn: Runcorn Bridge. Read more>>>

1890, 20th January – Stocton-on-Tees: Victoria Bridge. Read more>>>

1890, 20th February – Runcorn: Runcorn Bridge. Read more>>>

1890, 19th June – Runcorn: Runcorn Bridge. Contest with American diver Carlisle Graham. Read more>>>

1890, 2nd August – Runcorn: Runcorn Bridge. Read more>>>

1890, 7th – 8th August – Wales: Menai Bridge. Dive prevented by police. Read more>>>

1890, 13th August – Dublin: O’Connell Bridge. Laughter in court after Tommy’s arrest. Read more>>>

1890, 19th November – Glasgow: Glasgow Bridge (aka Jamaica Bridge). Read more>>>

1890, 8th July, – Barrow-in-Furness: High Level Bridge. Read more>>>

1891, 20th and 31st October – Warrington: Walton Arches. Read more>>>

1891, 7th November – Earlestown: Sankey Viaduct (aka Nine Arches). Dive prevented by police. Read more >>>

1891, 19th December – Queensferry: Hawarden Bridge. Dive prevented by police. Read more>>>

1891, December – Hawarden: Leap from Queensferry Landing Stage. Read more>>>

1892, August – York: Lendal Bridge, Ouse Bridge and Skeldergate Bridge. Read more>>>

1892, 16th September – Ayr: Auld Brig and New Bridge. Read more>>>

1892, 22nd November – Wirral: Egremont Lighthouse Bridge. Read more>>>

1893, 1st July – London: Waterloo Bridge. Hungerford Bridge and Westminster Bridge. Read more>>>

1894, 13th September – Manchester: Trafford Bridge. Dive prevented by police. Read more>>>

1895, 17th September – Dundee: Tay Bridge. Dive prevented by railway officials. Read more>>>

1896, 1st January – London: Tower Bridge. Read more>>>

1896, 13th January – London: Southwark Bridge. Read more>>>

1896, 17th March – London: Blackfriars railway bridge. Read more>>>

1896, 3rd June – London: Lambeth Bridge, Vauxhall Bridge and Chelsea Bridge. Read more>>>

1896, 16th September – London: London Bridge. Read more>>>

1896, 21st December – Scotland: Forth Bridge. Read more>>>

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