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In "some like it hot" Tony Curtis explained to Marilyn Monroe that it was to get from one side to the other. Can't do the accent in type.
 

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Ships Bridge

I was told that in the early days of paddle steamers the vessels were manoeuvred from on top of the paddles. When it was required to change sides one had to climb down off one paddle, trot across the deck and climb up onto the other paddle. Then some bright spark thought of putting a plank between the two paddles which “bridged” the two.
Has anyone a better suggestion?
 

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I'm not sure about the paddle boxes but what I was told many years ago roughly fits in with the idea.
With the advent of steam ships the conning position moved forward from the poop mainly because it was practical to do so. Against this was the fact that the deck was lower and there was a lot of 'traffic' so they built a platform which raised the position to get a better view but allowed everyone else on board to pass to and fro. From the deck, looking up, this gave the appearance of a bridge, and so it was called.
 

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Ships Bridge

I agree with Dave.
I read that they placed a bridge acroos the deck midships. This was for the watch keeping engineer to go from one paddle wheel to the other, quickley and without hinerance.
Someone decided later that it would be a great place to place the steering wheel.
 

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Dave is right. It was a hell of a job, clambering up and down those paddleboxes. Probably why my knees are giving me so much trouble lately.
 

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Dave is right. It was a hell of a job, clambering up and down those paddleboxes. Probably why my knees are giving me so much trouble lately.
Thanks Samsette that explains it, after all these years I now know that my knee problems were not caused by crawling through double bottoms on behalf of some ungreatful shipowner who was too busy shooting grouse on the Glourious Twelfth rather than gived a toss about my welfare.
 

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Just one other point, The main practical reason for moving the steering position on a steam powered ship was not the better view it afforded, that was probably an afterthought.
If you think about the coal smoke coming out of the funnel, and the fact that most of it was blowing aft, Would you not want to be stood upwind of it? Keep in mind that you were stood open to the weather before someone else thought to put a roof on it, and later still, windows (pure luxury!).
 

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Talking of ship's bridges, I note that on modern cruise ships, the latest being
P & O's Ventura, the bridge seem to have moved from the top of the superstructure down to about halfway. Is this a good idea ?
 

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The Worst Ship's Bridge I was ever on ........

.....was the ex Royal Yacht. She is tied up in Leith as a museum ship. The Wheel house (well actually it doesn't have a wheel) I think its called the compass platform in the navy was a mess full of odd bits of equipment, no proper dodgers on the wings. Very glad I never had to stand a watch on her.
 
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