Monday Mystery: what links Batman to Kendal?

It’s a strange thought. On the one hand, a quaint old northern market town huddled in the Kent valley. On the other, the Caped Crusader. And yet there are two separate links between the two.

The first is a bit more distant. Every year for the last six years, Kendal has run the Comic Art Festival – apparently the only international event dedicated purely to comics and graphic art in the world. It’s held over one weekend in October at a number of venues including the Brewery Arts Centre, and effectively takes over the town. And although you’re just as likely to find Japanese Manga, Beatrix Potter or the latest political cartoons, the characters from Marvel and DC also feature. And that (of course) includes Batman.

However, there’s an even more unusual link to Batman, and one that’s probably unique to the town, and it involves – of all things – a bridge. Officially known as Victoria Bridge, it takes the main A6 north-south road over the River Kent and was opened in 1887 to commemorate the Queen’s Jubilee. It’s unusual because it’s made of iron. And hidden in plain sight all along the parapet is an intriguing little cut-out design, which looks exactly like the Batman logo. You can see the whole bridge in the image above (from Visit Cumbria) and the logo more clearly in this archive photograph from the BBC:

batmanbridge

The locals, as locals tend to do, have adopted the logo as their own and fondly call the whole thing Batman Bridge. It gets into the news on a regular basis these days as it’s been closed on and off for repairs ever since the devastating floods of Storm Desmond in 2015, which causes traffic chaos in the town.

It would be interesting to know whether the artists behind the original Batman logo had ever seen the bridge, or whether it’s complete coincidence. But don’t be surprised if you see a mysterious caped figure hovering in the night sky over the town the next time you visit…

 

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