The 1940 Carlisle Directory made no mention of the war but it was up to date by stating in the introduction “Harraby Bridge, at the main entrance to the city from the south, is now in process of widening and reconstruction”.

Extra arches were added to the east side of the bridge to increase the width and a plaque on the parapet shows the work completed in February 1941.

There had been a bridge there since medieval times, a bequest being made for its upkeep in July 1363 “to the bridge over the Petteril between Carlisle and Harraby”, and another in 1380 “to the bridges at Harraby and Botcherby in equal shares”.

Floods destroyed the bridges around Carlisle between 1420 and 1427, Richard Neville successfully petitioning the King’s council for oaks from Inglewood Forest to repair and replace the damaged timbers.

But in November 1441 the bridge again needed repair and this time “the mayor and citizens petitioned the King for a further supply of oaks”.

Watchmen were placed on the bridge in 1550 to protect the approaches to Carlisle.

It also appears as ‘Gallows Bridge’ in 1608, this being close to Harraby Hill, a place of execution.

In July 1735, one of the county magistrates, responsible for bridge maintenance “viewed Harraby Bridge ... lately presented as out of repair and now finds it duly repaired”.

The Cumberland Pacquet in April 1828 reported on County Sessions at which a statement on the “very dilapidated state” of Harrby Bridge was given by Mr Sanderson the bridge master.

He said “no persons would risk their lives in attempting to repair the piers” and they “would not stand another winter”.

He recommended a new bridge as the most economical plan.

As a result the Carlisle Journal in August 1828 advertised for tenders to build a new bridge which was to be 10 to 15 feet above the present one and a cutting through Harraby Hill to level the approach road.

Reports appeared in February 1829 to say that the old bridge was being demolished and a temporary wooden one had replaced it.

The foundation stone for the new bridge was to be laid with due ceremony on April 6. A brass plate on the stone commemorated the event.

The contractors, Nixon and Denton, were to be paid in stages, a first payment of £800 being made in May when the springers for the arches were laid.

In June the first arch was closed but there were difficulties in making the cutting in July when there were falls of earth.

Other arches on the bridge were completed that month.

In October it was reported that “the rivers that run through Carlisle rose to an alarming height and the temporary bridge across the Petteril at Harraby was nearly washed away and the carriages from the south were obliged to go round by Botcherby”.

The Journal reported in May 1830 that the new road and bridge were to open.

This then was the bridge being widened, the contract for which was let to AE Farr on May 9, 1939.

Despite the war, work went on with a government grant.