BOOTLE TIMES 1st March 1963
A LIFE OF UPS AND DOWNS
Jim rises to the defence of his Lift Bridge
What would Jim think now of the amount of traffic going over the canal?
Mr Lovelady (on left) chats to two bargees, from Newbury and Burscough, before opening the Lift Bridge
For 25 years Jim Lovelady's life has been full of ups and downs. That's because Jim, who lives at 1, Sefton Street, Litherland, is the town's Lift Bridge controller and toll collector.

The Lift Bridge is in the news because the Planning Committee are urging the Government to speed up a decision on whether or not they approve recommendations to demolish the bridge and build a fly-over road.
   This week the "Times" asked the man who knows more about the bridge than anybody else what he thought about the idea. "Rubbish", said Jim. "They want to knock down this bridge because of the traffic congestion, but the traffic lights further up the road cause more stoppages than we do."
   He pointed out that the whole lifting operation on the bridge takes an average of 3 minutes from start to finish. He lifted the bridge only 12 times each day-a total stoppage time of less than three-quarters of an hour.
   "The traffic lights stop traffic every minute and a half for about a minute. That runs into hours each day." He added.
   Jim was a plumber before he took the job of toll collector on the bridge 25 years ago, just five years after the bridge had been built.
   Since that time he's lifted the 46-ton roadway 11 feet above the canal more than 100,000 times. The bridge is electrically operated and works on the counter-balance system. Each of the four counter-weights is ten tons.

Carrying Coal
When Jim began working on the bridge, 53 wooden or steel barges passed through each day. Now he lifts the bridge only twelve times each day to barges carrying coal from Chevington (Wigan) to Liverpool's Athol Street Gasworks.
   Lately pack ice over the canal stopped barges from reaching the Lift Bridge, but lorries have been bringing the coal to the casual quay at Litherland to load the barges to Liverpool.. The Athol Street Gasworks are supplied with 400 tons of coal each day by the 60-ton barges.
   As a barge approaches the bridge it will blow its horn to let Jim know of its arrival. If the bargemaster hasn't a contract with British Waterways Commission Jim charges him a toll ranging from 1s.(5p) to 6s.(30p) per ton.
   Jim operates two levers in his control post. One sets off lights and bells to warn traffic that the bridge will be lowered. The second operates the beams that fall across the road and lifts the bridge.
   Jim Lovelady is a 20th Century Horatio — defending his bridge against any threat.


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