Just like the London Bridge over the Thames River in London, which open its center piece for the ships to pass, here in Kochi we have got one like that. The Old Mattancherry bridge is still there connecting the wellington Island and the fort Cochin Island at Thoppumpady.
Wellington Island is a manmade island which came into existence in 1936 as part of building the modern Kochi port. The Vembanad Lake was dredged to deepen the channel to the port for bigger ships to sail in and dock. The dredged soil later became a land mass and eventually an island. Robert Bristow was the chief engineer of the port project and he name the island after Lord Wellington, who was the then Governor of the Madras Presidency. The island played a major role for the British during the Second World War. The southern naval command base is in the Island, which also has an airport. Some of the first hotels in Cochin and the best are located in the island.
Four years after the Wellington Island was commissioned, the Old Mattancherry Bridge was built, where the center piece can open up for ships to pass by. The bridge was built with wood and steel, and is a fine example of British engineering. The bridge served its purpose till 1998 when the new bridge came close to it. Today the old Mattancherry Bridge does not open up and is allowed only for two wheelers. One could see the bridge on the right side when traveling from Wellington Island to Thoppumpady.
Written by Benjamin John