Humber Bridge at 40: How the famous landmark has transformed Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Today marks 40 years since the Humber Bridge was opened by Queen Elizabeth II and for many people in the region, it is hard to remember what life was like before the bridge existed.

Millions of cars and people use the famous landmark to cross from Yorkshire to Lincolnshire every year and has helped cut down journey times and bring communities and economies closer together.

A bridge across the Humber was first spoken about in 1920, but it took 50 years for the plans to be drawn up.

Alexander Clarke at the opening ceremony of the Humber Bridge. Credit: Yorkshire Television Archive

In 1981 Alexander Clarke was the chair of the Humber Bridge Board, he opened the bridge alongside the Queen and his daughter, Vanessa, has spoken about his shock that the speech he wrote to help the monarch was read word for word.

Vanessa said: "I remember waking up and feeling really excited in the morning. There was such a buzz in the household because it was such a great occasion for the whole family.

"My mum was the Lady Mayoress at the time so I got the role of giving the official bouquet to the Queen. So I was seven so it was a big deal and a memory to be cherished."

"He was also asked if he would put a few words down to help the Queen's staff to write a speech so he wrote it and none of it was changed. She actually spoke his speech so that was a real honour as well in some ways that it was good enough."

The structure is used as the symbol for the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce and the Chief Executive of the chamber, Dr Ian Kelly, said the bridge has helped to create economic growth.

"When I was brought in as Chamber Chief Executive my big jobs was to bring all the Chambers together in the Humber," he said.

"It is what ministers call a functional economic area. It's created lots of jobs. People now travel both sides, both directions and compared to the ferry it is an easy thing now to travel from north to south and back again."

When the bridge was opened by the Queen she called it a "splendid advertisement" for British Engineering.

The bridge has also served as a muse the Hull-born singer Calum Scott, who said that it inspired much of the work in his upcoming album.

He said: "The bridge has always been in my eyeline. You know, obviously, I was born and raised in Hull, went to school, worked in Hull, so it's always been in like my periphery, even like going on the foreshore as kids or Little Swiss or whatever but obviously now as an adult, leaving and going to do all these amazing things around the world, there's nothing quite like travelling home and it's the first thing you see.

"It's like a flag in the ground, you know. I'm a very proud Hull lad so seeing that bridge coming back has always fills me with pride and all the memories of growing up and reminds me of Hull being my little sanctuary, my safe place, you know one of those things where as soon as I look at it, it reminds me of home."