Hull’s new footbridge is to be named after Dr Mary Murdoch.
The name was chosen by school students following an essay competition to determine which of the city’s iconic figures should be honoured.
Murdoch’s Connection’ immortalises the city’s first female GP, Dr Mary Murdoch, and was chosen after students from Newland School for Girls and Archbishop Sentamu Academy submitted 100 essays to a judging panel made up of Emma Hardy MP, Katy Duke (CEO Deep), Cllr Daren Hale (Deputy Leader of the Labour Group), Karen Oliver-Spry (Humber LEP Investment Programme Manager) and key members of the Highways England project team.
The panel chose Dr Murdoch after whittling it down to a shortlist of five people. The question was then opened up to the public, attracting 55,000 votes.
Murdoch’s Connection will link the city centre to the marina, waterfront and fruit market. The structure is to cross the dual carriageway of the A63, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to safely cross the road, and will also ease congestion on the A63.
Highways England senior project manager James Leeming said: “We have been working with the students who nominated Dr Murdoch and they have put a lot of thought into the name of the bridge. Murdoch’s Connection is a great choice because it will literally connect the centre of Hull to many of the city’s most important areas.
“As the country continues to battle the biggest public health crisis in many years, it is fitting that we have this opportunity to honour our first female GP. Dr Murdoch did so much for this city, from being a surgeon for sick children to founding Hull Women’s Suffrage Society. We are delighted to immortalise her in this way.”
The major Highways England project, which will shape the future of Hull, will see the bridge open to the public in the autumn.
Dr Murdoch, who passed away in 1916 at the age of 51, was House Surgeon at the Victoria Hospital for Sick Children in Park Street. She was the most popular choice from a star-studded shortlist which also included ‘headscarf revolutionary’ Lillian Bilocca, philanthropist William Wilberforce, Julia Lee, the first woman to officiate men’s rugby league games in the UK, and heroic World War Two veteran Thomas Ransom.
Councillor Daren Hale, deputy leader of Hull City Council, said: “Naming the bridge after Hull’s first female GP is a testament to what our residents value in this city.
“Celebrating some of the city’s most impactful figures has been something we pride ourselves on, and I look forward to hearing the name being used by residents and visitors alike.
“I look forward to the opening of Murdoch’s Connection, and seeing residents use this link between our wonderful waterfront to the heart of the city.”
Murdoch’s Connection is being part funded with a £4m contribution from the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership’s local growth fund programme, secured through its growth deals with Government and part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.
Chair of the Humber LEP, Stephen Parnaby OBE, said: “We’d like to thank all the pupils who helped pick this inspirational name. It is a fitting choice given how much the bridge will improve connectivity in the city centre, and one which we know a lot of care has been taken over. The Humber LEP are pleased to have been able to support the project with a contribution from the Local Growth Fund.”
For updates about the scheme visit the website and look out for the hashtag #a63hullpqbridge on the regional Twitter account, @HighwaysYORKS