Chamberlain Bridge

The Chamberlain Bridge in Barbados was constructed in 1872 to provide a path across the Careenage. This Draw-bridge (Swing Bridge) played a pivotal role in aiding merchants, labourers and workers to make their living.

The original bridge in this location was called the ‘Indian River Bridge’, was of a wooden structure and built by Amerindians. The 2nd set of British settlers to the island found this bridge and called the area 'Indian Bridge' (now 'Bridgetown' the island's capital). After their arrival in 1628 they replaced it, and again in 1654 after deterioration. It was later replaced again in 1668 after being destroyed by fire, as well as in 1675 and 1677 after damage by hurricanes of those years.

Because of the repeated construction of this bridge, a second bridge was built, making it two bridges over the Careenage (Constitution River). This bridge would become the ‘East Bridge’ now known as the Charles Duncan Oneal Bridge, and the Chamberlain Bridge the ‘West Bridge’.

During 1700 the west bridge was again damaged, this time by floods which caused it to be out-of-use for many years, leaving just the east bridge.

In 1751 the west bridge was replaced, but due to structural issues had to be rebuilt in 1760, and used only by pedestrians.

By 1865 construction of a new swing bridge had started, during the redevelopment of Trafalgar square and because of the large size of ships entering the inner basin.

The swing bridge also had its share of construction and design problems, resulting in dismantling. During reassembly the two sides did not connect, and as a result one side was replaced by a concrete structure which was not able to swing.

After the swing bridge completion in 1872, it was badly damaged by a hurricane in 1898, and was repaired and named after Joseph Chamberlain on December 14th 1900, the colonial secretary who helped Barbados with financial aid after the 1898 hurricane.

The new draw-bridge was raised for tall ships until 1984, when it became non-functional because of mechanical problems. In 2005 it was removed and upgraded into a new state-of-the-art lift-bridge and became operational again on July 3rd 2006. To date it still remains a pedestrian only bridge.  

The Chamberlain Bridge is one of two bridges in Bridgetown spanning over the Careenage. It is located parallel to the Charles Duncan Oneal Bridge.
This bridge is also home to the Independence Arch & the beginning of the Bridgetown Boardwalk.
It connects National Heroes Square (formerly Trafalgar Square) to Independence Square & Bay Street

Other Places of Interest & Historic Sites nearby include:

This bridge is now part of Historic Bridgetown & its Garrison area
…A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Click here for Tours of the Bridgetown Historic Area…


South end of Broad Street

Contact Info
Chamberlain Bridge
Upper Broad Street / Independence Square
St Michael

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