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Busting the myths behind Cambridge’s Mathematical Bridge

We might be biased but we absolutely adore Cambridge and its many quirks. If you were born and bred here,…

By admin , in Cambridge , at February 14, 2022 Tags:

We might be biased but we absolutely adore Cambridge and its many quirks.

If you were born and bred here, you’ve probably heard plenty of stories about the city that we know and love.

Here at Cambridgeshire Live, we have decided to take a closer look at some of these classic Cambridge tales to see whether they are really true, exaggerated or just a story.

This week we have decided to take a look at The Mathematical Bridge that is over the River Cam.

This bridge connects two parts of Queen’s college and its official name is the wooden Bridge or Queen’s Bridge.

If you take one of Cambridge’s famous punting trips, this is a part of the tour and a marvel to see.

So, what is the story behind it?

A popular myth behind this stunning bridge is that it was designed by Sir Isacc Newton and put together without the use of nuts or bolts.

According to the story, over the years a lot of students have taken the bridge apart to try and work out how it has been put together but couldn’t put it back together again, which is why it has nuts and bolts in it now.

Is this true?

As cool as that would be, sadly it’s unlikely that this story is true.

For a start, Newton couldn’t have been directly involved considering he died in 1727, twenty-two years before the bridge was built.

As well as this, the nuts and bolts are clearly a part of the bridge’s design.

When it was first built, iron spikes were driven into the joints from the outer side, where they could not be seen from the inside of the parapets, explaining why bolts were thought to be an addition to the original.

So even though it’s unlikely that this Cambridge story is true, it’s still magical to punt underneath the mathematical bridge and look at the stunning design.

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