Before the coming of the Kirkstall Viaduct in 1849, (built from locally-sourced Bramley Fall stone) the only way to cross the River Aire between Armley and town was either the ford at Armley Mills or by ferry near where Washington Street is now, writes Mark Stevenson.
In 1882 Airegate was extended to cross the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and renamed Canal Road. Two foot bridges were also built across the River Aire.
The footbridge nearest to the Viaduct was demolished in the 1920s, evidence still remains of this bridge if you look carefully. The second footbridge which still survives today is the Warren Truss Bridge.
It was said of this bridge that it was the only place you could stand on a bridge to look under a bridge looking over a bridge and see the town hall clock. The bridge did not have a good reputation with the local children.
Sandra Irene Fowler said on Leodis:
“That is my nightmare bridge and I still haven’t got over having to walk over it to get to Kirkstall Road. I remember being dragged over it in 1953 just after the floods and the River Aire was only about few feet underneath the slats of the walkway.
“The little islands that used to be in the middle of the River Aire were covered. My sister was in her big pram but couldn’t see the water and I screamed all the way across. That was my nightmare for donkey years and I used to dream that I could fly over it lifting my Mum and sister with me. The trauma was terrible.”
Others mention the river been polluted and smelly and how it would run with various colours depending on what was being deposited from the mills and how the river level could be very high in the winter nearly touching the bridge…