Email: helen.warne@rbt.org.uk

Rochester Bridge Trust News Archive 2016

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Young engineers explore inside historic bridge

Four Bridge Wardens’ Scholars and their families have enjoyed a special behind-the-scenes tour of Rochester’s bridges. Brecon, Frederick, Silke and Theodore, were guided over, under and inside the bridges by Tim Belcher-Whyte of bridge engineers Arcadis. This enabled the scholars to experience first-hand the history of engineering and the challenges of maintaining Victorian infrastructure in […]

Missing piece

Despite having an extensive archive containing hundreds of years of documents relating to bridge maintenance and construction, there are still one or two minor things we don’t know about the bridges. These are all incidental details that don’t have any impact on the general safety of the bridges, but they are things we would like […]

Esplanade investigations – protecting the site

Passers-by will have noticed another change to our excavation site near Rochester Castle, in the form of wooden hoardings. Now the site is enclosed we will be able to excavate material from in front of the sealed up water gate. The covering is mainly to ensure the safety of the public, however as the arch […]

Pedestrian safety

Medway Council is to install temporary barriers at the Rochester end of the New Bridge, following a recent crash. The incident, which involved two cars, caused damage to the railing and parapet alongside the footpath on council-owned land. The barriers will remain in place for the safety of the public until repairs can be carried […]

Introducing three new Bridge Wardens’ Scholars

Three school pupils have been selected for sponsorship by the Rochester Bridge Trust. Selected through the Arkwright scheme, teenagers Silke Heyse, Theodore Macklin and Brecon Hoadley will benefit from mentoring and financial support from the Rochester Bridge Trust while studying for their A-levels. Known as Bridge Wardens’ Scholars, the trio were welcomed by the Trust […]

Esplanade inspections, a possible find – update

Thank you for your patience while we continue to keep an area of footway along the Esplanade closed. We are now able to tell you we appear to have rediscovered the remains of the opening shown to the left of the high wall on this engraving. The find – probably used as water gate – […]

Keeping the bridges clean

An important part of the Trust’s ongoing maintenance programme involves keeping the bridges clean. This is partly to ensure they continue to look smart, but it also gives us the opportunity to review the integrity of the structures and ensure they continue to be safe. Recently, late night drivers will have witnessed some of this […]

Esplanade inspections, a possible find

As mentioned in our previous post, an archaeologist was in attendance for our Esplanade inspection work on Thursday, 3rd November. The archaeologist was on site because of the trial area’s location next to the outer wall of Rochester Castle. We had no idea if we’d find anything, but when in such close proximity to history […]

Lane restrictions on Rochester’s bridges

For three nights from today, Wednesday, 2nd November, there will be temporary off-peak single lane closures on Rochester’s bridges. The closures, which will take place between 9pm and 4am, are part of the Trust’s ongoing maintenance programme. They will see one lane of the Old Bridge closed at a time, as the bow string truss […]

Esplanade inspections, first findings

Our Esplanade investigation work has now been running for just over a week and we appreciate your patience while this is going on. First of all, for those of you wondering what exactly is happening, let’s take a look at the work. Machinery The inspections require the use of two machines. The first is a […]

Inspections on the Esplanade

The Rochester Bridge Trust is known for its ownership of and responsibility for the bridges between Rochester and Strood, but did you know we also own a section of the Esplanade? Walk away from the bridges, along the Esplanade, and you’ll notice an engraving on the Castle wall that reads RB CR. The same engraving […]

Bridge selfie winner announced

We recently asked members of the public to share a bridge selfie next to one of our bridges in support of a campaign run by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). As an incentive, the sender of our favourite selfie would win a voucher towards a meal for two at Topes. We were pleased by […]

The Esplanade, but not as we know it

Did you know the area of the Esplanade near Rochester Castle hasn’t always looked as it does today? When the Victorian bridge replaced the medieval crossing in 1856, the Esplanade was extensively re-shaped and remodelled to accommodate the new location of the bridge. This engraving is dated 1st April, 1811, and shows the true height […]

Esplanade Inspections

As part of the Rochester Bridge Trust’s ongoing maintenance programme, work will shortly begin to inspect areas of Rochester Esplanade near the Bridge Chamber and Castle. The work will involve a series of bore holes and trial pits to the side of the roadway. The inspections will be carried out in phases, running from Monday, […]

Finalists announced in Conservation category of development awards

Four properties have been shortlisted for the newly-created Conservation category of the Kent Design & Development Awards 2016, which is sponsored by the Rochester Bridge Trust. The category seeks to reward building projects that show an innovative and sensitive approach to refurbishment, conservation and/or reuse of redundant, threatened or underused buildings and structures across the […]

Bridge Clerk’s achievements highlighted by university

The Chief Executive of the Rochester Bridge Trust has joined a growing list of women interviewed to highlight the diversity of people working in engineering. Bridge Clerk Sue Threader has been profiled on the University of Sheffield’s Wall of Women. A graduate of the university’s civil engineering degree, Sue’s profile includes a video interview about […]

Share a bridge selfie and you could win dinner for two

The Institution of Civil Engineers is asking members of the public to share photos of themselves with their favourite bridges in support of a major new exhibition, and the Rochester Bridge Trust is encouraging its own fans to get involved. People are asked to take to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to post their best #BridgeSelfie […]

Free talk to highlight Roman use of the River Medway

The Romans had a significant impact on the area in which we live – including building the first bridge at Rochester – and now members of the public can find out more in a free lecture. From the mid 1st to the mid 3rd century AD, much of the building material used across South East […]

First scholar is awarded a first class degree

One of the first young people to be supported with a scholarship from the Rochester Bridge Trust has now graduated with a First Class Honours degree. Joshua Mudie, who is from Bexleyheath and attended Dartford Grammar School for Boys, completed his Masters degree in civil engineering after four years of study at the University of […]

Safety boat helps children access the river

Young people can now enjoy even more access to the water, thanks to the purchase of a new safety boat. The vessel has been bought by Hydra Explorer and Network Sea Scout Unit following a grant of more than £10,000 from the Rochester Bridge Trust. The boat – which replaces an old, borrowed vessel – […]

Teacher joins engineering education initiative

The Rochester Bridge Trust has appointed a new Education Officer, completing the new team which will deliver its programme of engineering education projects. Former teacher and school improvement consultant Aileen White brings two decades of educational experience to the Trust, where she will work to encourage adults and children to discover the appeal of civil […]

History in the making

Historians, editors and interested members of the public have celebrated the completion of an ambitious project to highlight the county’s past. After almost a quarter of a century of work, the tenth and final volume of The Kent History Project – Early Medieval Kent – was launched last week at the Kent History and Library […]

Bridge Clerk shortlisted for Charity Times Awards

The Chief Executive of the Rochester Bridge Trust has been named as a finalist in a national award scheme.

Sue Threader is shortlisted in the Principal of the Year category of the Charity Times Awards, which celebrate best practice in the UK charity and not-for-profit sector […]

Lane restrictions on Rochester’s Old Bridge

Medway Council will be carrying out essential works along Strood High Street at off-peak times for one day on 12th July 2016, with a further week of works proposed between 25th July and 5th August. To facilitate the works, single lane closures will be required on the Old Bridge toward Strood. The cycle lane on […]

Family Engineering a great success for Civic Day

Children of all ages learnt to be the bridge builders of the future at a free Family Engineering event. The Rochester Bridge Trust hosted a day of educational activities in the Guildhall Museum as part of the City of Rochester Society’s Civic Day celebrations on 18th June. More than 60 children and adults took part, […]

Celebrating Kent’s design, development and built environment

Kent’s architectural heritage is to be celebrated in a new Conservation category in the Kent Design & Development Awards 2016. Sponsored by the Rochester Bridge Trust, the category seeks to reward building projects that show an innovative and sensitive approach to refurbishment, conservation, and/or reuse of once redundant, threatened or underused buildings and structures such […]

Works are almost finished

We are pleased to tell you the main part of the workshop wall is now complete. All that remains is to remove the props and fill the gaps before we reinstate the material in the trench. This work should be complete in the next few weeks. We appreciate your patience while we carried out these […]

Enjoy Family Engineering fun for Civic Day

As part of the City of Rochester Society’s Civic Day celebrations, families are invited to enjoy free bridge building activities at the Guildhall Museum, provided by the Rochester Bridge Trust. The activities, which are among a number of events across Medway on Saturday, 18th June, will give children and adults the opportunity to learn about […]

New appointment to bring forward engineering education

The Rochester Bridge Trust has appointed its first Education Officer to bring forward its engineering education initiatives. Former science and physics teacher Sharron Mackenzie’s role includes organising and hosting bridge building activities to promote the potential of civil engineering as a career. Bridge Clerk Sue Threader explained: “One of the Trust’s objectives is to inspire […]

Advance notice of works

As part of the Trust’s ongoing maintenance of the bridge and surrounding area we will soon begin to carry out ground investigations on the Esplanade at Rochester. The aim of these works is to ensure we have the most up-to-date information available ahead of future reconditioning of the Trust-owned parts of the Esplanade and river […]

Constructing the arches

Passers-by at the Strood end of the Old Bridge will see there has been good progress on the workshop walls. As well as the first major sections of wall now being complete, we have also completed construction of the first arch. The principles of building an arch are the same whether for a bridge or […]

Traffic management on Rochester’s Old Bridge

On Wednesday, 18th May, there will be a temporary off-peak single lane closure on the Old Bridge. The closure, which will take place between 9.30am and 3.30pm, is part of the Trust’s ongoing maintenance programme. The work, which has to take place in daylight, has been timed to minimise disruption to road-users.

New book celebrates Capability Brown in Kent

A book highlighting the local works of one of the 18th century’s greatest landscape gardeners is being published by Kent Gardens Trust, with the support of the Rochester Bridge Trust. Capability Brown in Kent commemorates the 300th anniversary of the influential gardener’s birth and looks at the five sites he was responsible for in the […]

Lane restrictions on Rochester’s bridges

Essential maintenance to the bridges at Rochester is due to take place overnight on Thursday, 28th April. The work, which will be carried out by FM Conway on behalf of the Rochester Bridge Trust, includes cleaning of the expansion joints and perforated kerbs. To facilitate the works, single lane closures will be required on both […]

Awards shortlisting for Bridge Clerk

Bridge Clerk Sue Threader has been shortlisted in the Institute of Directors’ London and South East Director of the Year Awards 2015. The awards were open to all directors from the private, public and voluntary sectors across the whole of London and the South East. Mrs Threader is one of three people shortlisted in the […]

The bricks in numbers

On Monday, the first brick was laid for the new façade. As previously mentioned, the bricks being used are Sevenoaks Yellow Stock and Staffordshire Blue Brindle Smooth. Here are a few statistics about the wall we are now building: Above ground level, the highest point will be 3.2m, with the area of bricks above ground […]

Workshop walls: progress report

It’s been a week or two since we’ve updated you on the works to the workshop walls, and work is progressing well. General repairs are still being undertaken, along with preparations for the new facing. A foundation trench has been excavated as part of these works to allow a drainage system to be installed. This […]

The Museums + Heritage Awards

As a medieval bridge charity, founded in 1399, the Rochester Bridge Trust has a long history and keen interest in restoration and maintenance of historic structures, buildings and artefacts. The Trust also has an historic archive and collections of art, furniture and other artefacts which it puts on display to the public as part of […]

Children enjoy the challenge of bridge building

Soldiers pitted their wits against schoolchildren during a day of bridge building fun at the Royal Engineers Museum. The fun day out of the classroom saw around 40 children from schools across Medway enjoying a range of talks and activities. It ended with an annual bridge building competition when soldiers competed against pupils as the […]

Apply for a share in grant funding

Organisations from across Kent as well as parts of Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and West Sussex are invited to apply for grants worth £200 to £25,000 from one of the country’s oldest charities. The Rochester Bridge Trust has opened a new round of grant schemes for 2016 and welcomes applications related to heritage structures; history and agriculture; […]

Bricks reveal a glimpse of history

The bridge we have today is a reconstruction of the Victorian bridge designed by Sir William Cubitt and the structure now revealed would have been built at the same time – more than 150 years ago. The sandy brown bricks which can now be seen give a glimpse of how part of that bridge might […]

The Education Resources Awards

One of the Rochester Bridge Trust’s main challenges is to ensure there will be enough skilled, experienced civil engineers to continue to maintain the bridges for centuries to come. Such a challenge is one of the reasons the engineering education website and associated learning materials exist, it also means the Trust appreciates the efforts others […]

Behind the workshop wall

As passers-by will know, the facing wall at the Strood end of the bridge has now been taken down. As would be expected with any restoration work, it’s revealed a few surprises. Pre-work trials had suggested the hidden brickwork was in good condition and supported the parapet above, but the keen observer will note temporary […]

Enforced closures of Rochester bridges

To facilitate Medway Council’s resurfacing works in Strood, there will be two overnight closures of the approach roads to the Rochester bridges. On Monday, 14th March, there will be no access to either bridge between Rochester and Strood from 9pm until 5.30am. Then on Tuesday, 15th March, access to the Old Bridge carrying traffic from […]

Discover the history of bridges

Learn about bridges and their important part in our lives at a free talk being hosted jointly by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Among the earliest structures in human history, the need for bridges has led to constant innovation and ingenuity, as will be revealed during the evening event […]

Fellowship presented to Bridge Clerk

The chief executive of a Rochester charity has been recognised with the highest grade of membership offered by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Sue Threader, who is Bridge Clerk for the Rochester Bridge Trust, has been named a fellow of the ICE, a recognition reserved for civil engineers who have made a big contribution […]

Sourcing the right bricks for the workshop walls

In order to sympathetically replace the bricks in the workshop walls, research has been done to source the most appropriate materials. Two of the sample panels are pictured here. Photo Credits: FM Conway The wall is currently constructed from Gault Yellow bricks, however these are not possible to replicate and reclaimed bricks of this type […]

Windmills, railways and Rochester Bridge: free talk celebrates the life and works of Sir William Cubitt

Members of the public are invited to learn more about one of the most versatile but often overlooked civil engineers of the mid-19th century, who for a time was official… read more →

Hero remembered in window rededication service

Three ancient stained glass panels have been restored in memory of a First World War hero and former Warden of the Rochester Bridge Trust. The work on the Filmer Armorial… read more →

How will the public be affected by works to the workshop wall?

The works to replace the workshop walls – which will begin imminently – are due to take place over several months. There should be minimal disturbance to the public and… read more →

Replacing the wall – explaining Option 3

As the most aesthetically pleasing option – and the one most likely to obtain listed building consent – the removal and reconstruction of the whole wall was chosen as the… read more →

Fixing the wall – outlining the three options

After many years of research, a considered response was required to select the most suitable solution to fix the damaged wall. This led to three options being put forward: Previous patchwork… read more →

Introducing the damaged wall

Where the Old Bridge runs over land in Strood, a series of arches are built into the brickwork. These arches house a number of Trust workshops and stores, and passers-by… read more →

Vacancy for an Education Officer

As part of its work, the Rochester Bridge Trust is committed to promoting awareness and understanding of civil engineering among young people, families and teachers. A range of projects is… read more →

Welcome to the Bridge Engineer’s Blog

This section of the website will focus on all aspects of the Rochester Bridge Trust’s monitoring and maintenance programme, from minor cleaning to major works. Until now, lane closures and… read more →

Free talk reflects on a life in the law

Members of the public are invited to an evening of reflection as a solicitor shares highlights from his 50-year career. Michael Bailey’s talk will launch the Rochester Bridge Trust’s programme… read more →

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