At the end of July 2001 we announced our intention to campaign for the restoration of the Iron Bridge in Brabyns Park. These pages formed a campaign diary and kept visitors informed of progress, or lack of it! The diary was split into sections for each year of the campaign, as it had become rather large.
Originally entries were displayed in reverse chronological order, with the latest at the top of the page to make them easier to find during the live campaign. When migrating here entries were switched to cronological order to make it easier to follow the timeline of events from start to finish.
The text is as written at the time and has only been edited where links etc. no longer work.
A great deal has happened since the last update and the campaign is gathering pace.
At our meeting with Council Representatives on 28th June it was decided that we should apply to the Marple Area Committee for "Kick Start" funding to enable us to make an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a Project Planning Grant. This will enable the investigative phase to get underway, which will provide the information needed to suport a future HLF application for the full repairs.
A smaller group met again on 12 July 2002 to draft a letter to the area committee coordinator and to complete the application form for a "Kick Start Grant". We've asked for £1,500, which is 10% of the estimated cost of the first phase. The HLF would provide the remaining 90%, if our application is successful. The letter and application were e-mailed to the Area Committee Co-ordinator, Craig Ainsworth, on 15 July and a hard copy mailed on 17 July, including an estimate for the work. A copy will be added on-line in the near future.
The Area Committee Meeting is on Wednesday 24th July at 6.00 pm in Marple Library. Peter will speak on the group's behalf and we hope lots of people will turn up to show their support for the campaign.
Helen Winterson, the top quality ladies clothing shop on Market Street, has generously pledged £100 to the restoration campaign and we hope that other local businesses will follow the excellent lead that they've set.
We've also received a donation of £200 from a community spirited local person, who wishes to remain anonymous.
We've fixed a date for the auction of paintings donated by the Society of Marple Artists and other contributors. It will be on Friday 9th August at the Conservative Club on Church Lane. Viewing of the lots will begin from 7.00 pm and the auction will commence at 8.00 pm. There will be a bar available for refreshments and local actor and artist Keith Clifford, better known as Billy from Last of the Summer Wine, will entertain during the interval.
Keith has also generously donated two of his own drawings of characters from Last of the Summer Wine for the auction and we expect these to attract a great deal of interest.
The Conservative Club are providing the premises free of charge and 100% of the proceeds will go towards the restoration of the Iron Bridge.
Local photographer Kate Turnbull, whose exhibition is currently featured in Marple Library, has also agreed to donate a framed photograph to the campaign.
Several weeks ago we wrote to the Georgian Group, a charity with a special interest in buildings and structures of the period during which our bridge was built. The Group replied with interest and asked for photographs of the bridge so that they could consider it at their next case review panel meeting, which was held on 8 July 2002. We have now learnt that the panel were firmly of the opinion that this bridge is a nationally important structure. They also believe that it should be upgraded to GII* in order to secure national funding. This would raise its profile significantly and greatly increase the likelyhood of successful grant applications. It also confirms that we and the many local people who have shown support for the campaign by signing the petition and writing letters were right about the bridge's historical importance.
Finally, for now, the petition has passed the 1,800 mark and we've received two more letters of support from members of the local community. Hopefully we'll add to these and raise some more money for the restoration at tonight's fun quiz at the Ring o' Bells.
The Marple Area Committee considered our application for "Kick Start" funding at their meeting this evening and generously granted the £1,500 requested with a minimum of fuss and ceremony. This should enable us to make an application to the HLF, seeking a Project Planning Grant for the balance of money required to get the investigation underway.
At present we're waiting for feedback from English Heritage who, having made a site visit to see the bridge several weeks ago, are considering their recommendations regarding the restoration. It is intended to take their advice into account before making the Lottery application.
Peter appeared on Mike Craig's Saturday morning show on GMR Radio to plug the auction of paintings this Friday. He did extremely well, and chatted with Mike for over 5 minutes, gaining some excellent publicity for the sale. Unfortunately the recording of the show was much too large to place on the Internet for visitors who missed it.
The auction is on Friday 9th August in the Shepley Hall, Marple Conservative Club, on Church Lane. Viewing will start at 7.00 pm and the first item will go on sale at 8.00 pm. The local newspapers have been told all about it and hopefully there'll be a good turn out.
Thanks to our technical experts at Hosting4u you can now download Peter's interview on GMR Radio with Mike Craig. It's an MP3 file of about 5Mb, so it will take a while to download with an ordinary modem but it should be worth it! Give it a try and let us know of any technical difficulties. OK, click here to listen.
Despite a disappointing attendance, and we're sure the few who did come along to the auction on Friday will agree, it was a successful and very enjoyable evening. If we'd received the support we asked for from local newspapers and local radio, not to mention the weather, it could have been a different story but there is little point in dwelling long on this aspect.
What the audience lacked in numbers, they certainly made up for in enthusiasm and generosity and we managed to sell all but 8 of the 38 pictures donated. Several people went away with some real bargains and on top of that they were treated to some top class entertainment from Mr. Keith Clifford, who talked about his amusing introductions to the established cast members of Last of the Summer Wine and also did a "turn" as Jack Randell during the interval.
The evening raised a grand total of £793 with another £25 expected, which will bring the final total to £818. There are no expenses to be deducted from this, so the full amount raised will go towards the restoration of the bridge.
We would like to thank Keith Clifford for his fantastic contribution to the campaign, not only donating two pictures and providing some great entertainment, but also for arranging Peter's slot on GMR Radio last weekend. Of course the event could not have taken place without Malcolm Melia's original idea, followed up by his dogged determination in persuading local artists to contribute their work. We thank all the people who responded to Malcolm by making donations, with a special mention for Georgina Hargreaves who contributed a total of 7 paintings and also came on the night to give her support to the campaign.
Thanks and acknowledgements are also in order to Marple Conservative Club, who provided Shepley Hall free of charge, to Ray Noble of Marple Band, who set up the sound system for us, to Mellor Art Society, who lent us their display boards, to Chris at Picture Business on Stockport Road, who framed the items that were not framed at cost, and to Marple Promotions, who paid for these and other minor costs associated with the event. This really was a great example of the community working together.
The Gallery of paintings has been updated to show which were sold and which are still available. If you would like to buy one of the remaining items, please get in touch.
A quieter period than we've had for a while, but things are still bubbling away under the surface and there's quite a bit to update you on:
The good news regarding the auction of paintings is that we managed a few late sales and one person was much more generous than we expected, so the final amount raised was actually £898.50. We still have a few paintings left if anyone is interested. Click here to see which ones.
The Ring o' Bells pub has agreed to allow us to have a regular monthly fun quiz in aid of the bridge restoration. These are to be held every first Wednesday of the month. The first one was on September 4th and we raised £65 from entry fees and the raffle. The next one is on Wednesday 2nd October.
A couple of weeks ago we received 45 new letters of support, mainly from the Marple Ramblers, who are all very keen to save the bridge. Last weekend Peter and I attended the Mellor Dig Open Days and persuaded another 29 people to write 'instant' letters to Ged Lucas and Ingrid Shaw. This brings the total number of letters of support to a fantastic 118! Please keep them coming by clicking here for your own instant letter. Just download and print it, fill in each of the three sections, cut them up and send to the addresses shown.
At our last group meeting with council representatives on 28th August it was decided to send in a Pre-application form to the Heritage Lottery Fund. This is to verify that the bridge is a suitable project to receive HLF funding and to seek their advice on the best way to proceed. We hope to have a reply to this by the time of the next meeting on 20th September.
At the same meeting we heard that an English Heritage Senior Consultant Engineer has visited the bridge and given their professional advice. Without going into detail at this stage, we are expecting SMBC to follow this advice and look forward to learning how they are progressing at the next meeting.
Marple Carnival Charities Committee have agreed to make a donation to the campaign. We won't know how much this will be until we collect the cheque on 18th October at their presentation evening, but that doesn't really matter because every little helps!
Fund-raising has so far been pretty successful and currently stands as shown in the table below. Marple Local History Society, a registered charity, has kindly agreed to act 'banker' for the funds we are able to raise.
Marple Area Committee Grant (set aside) £1,500.00
Auction of Paintings £898.50
Anonymous Donation £200.00
Fun Quizzes in June, July & September £269.00
Ringer's Darts Team £10.00
Total Funds available £2,877.50
In addition to the amounts shown above, we have been pledged £100 by Helen Winterson Fashions and £500 by Myers Tree Care which we have not yet attempted to collect.
We understand that the Georgian Society have applied for the bridge's listing to be upgraded to II-star, which would place it on the Buildings at Risk Register. We await the outcome of this at present. If it is successful, it will add great support to the campaign and open up new options for funding.
At our group meeting for September we learnt that the Heritage Lottery Fund have given a favourable informal response to the pre-application, indicating that the bridge is a suitable candidate for HLF funding. A formal reply is awaited, however, it was agreed that an SMBC Engineer should be invited to the October meeting to discuss the next steps.
Another great fun quiz at the Ring o' Bells, which raised a further £56 directly, plus the quiz winners generously donated the £12.50 first prize to the campaign! In addition, Linda Goldman, a regular at the Ringer's, donated the loose change she'd been collecting in a bottle. Funds received currently stand as follows:
c/f from 12 September above £2,877.50
Ring o' Bells Fun Quiz 2/10/02 £56.00
Quiz winners donation 2/10/02 £12.50
Linda Goldman's Bottle £28.45
Total Funds available £2,974.45
We collected the cheque for £100 we had been pledged by Helen Winterson's of Market Street, and we thank them once again for their generosity.
Letters of support are still arriving and we now have 122. If you haven't sent one yet, then please click here for your own instant letter.
The Area Committee and SMBC's Chief Executive visited the bridge during their annual tour. We were invited to join them to discuss the campaign and were formally presented with a cheque for the £1,500 by Local Councillor Chris Elwood. Other Councillors in attendance were Mark Hunter, Shan Alexander and David Brailsford, who were all very supportive of our aims.
A busy day! Starting with the monthly group meeting. A formal response from the HLF to the pre-application has now been received by SMBC. This confirmed that the way forward is to apply, initially, for a Project Planning Grant. This will fund a first phase to established exactly what needs to be done to the bridge and enable a subsequent application for the full restoration to be made.
Making a Project Planning Grant application is quite an onerous task, as a great deal of information and supporting documentation is required by the HLF. SMBC's Senior Highways Engineer attended the meeting and he will be instructed to prepare a brief to structural engineering consultants with experience in this type of work, enabling them to provide competitive prices for the first phase of work. A Conservation Statement, addressing issues such as access and long-term maintenance, also needs to be prepared. The group will also be considering whether it is advantageous to widen the scope of the application to include interpretation of other heritage and naturalist features of the park, as well as the bridge itself.
We attended the Marple Carnival Committee's presentation evening, where the money they have raised during the year is donated to a variety of local charities and good causes. The evening took the form of a quiz night set by Jack Turnbull (who may, one day, be lynched for his dingbats!) We were surprised and delighted to receive a cheque for £250 towards the campaign and a further £20 for winning the quiz! The funding situation can therefore be updated as follows:
c/f from 2 October above £2,974.45
Cheque from Helen Winterson £100.00
Cheque from Marple Carnival £250.00
Carnival Evening Quiz Prize £20.00
Total Funds available £3,344.45
We held a clean-up day and managed to make a small dent in the undergrowth and foliage covering the bridge. Lots more to do though, so watch out for future events to be organised. Many thanks to Adrian Ellis from SMBC and Steve Chadwick, who joined Peter and me from 10.00 am to 12.00 noon on the Saturday morning.
Our regular quiz at the Ring o' Bells was switched from the first Wednesday in the month to the third, in order to make way for the Poppy Appeal, and raised a further £60 towards the cost of restoration.
A draft Project Planning Grant Application was tabled and reviewed during the Group Meeting and is to be developed further by the next meeting on 10th January. A draft Management Plan for the park was reviewed and proposals for an Access Plan Brief were also discussed. The aim is to have all the information together and forms completed to enable an application to the HLF to be submitted early in the New Year.
Back to our normal first Wednesday in the month slot, and another successful quiz night at the Ring o' Bells. This time £94 was raised for the cause and funding details can now be updated as follows:
c/f from 18 October above £3,344.45
Ringers Quiz 20/11/02 £60.00
Ringers Quiz 05/12/02 £94.00
Cash donation £2.80
Total Funds available £3,501.25
The next quiz will be on 8th January, we know it's the second Wednesday, but we didn't think there'd be many folks up for it on the 1st!
Some great news for Christmas is that we've received a pledge for £500 towards the cost of the first phase of works from the McNair Trust, a local trust that quietly funds many good causes in the area. We applied to the McNair Trust earlier in the year and our application was approved by the Trustees at their recent AGM.
Another £71 was raised toward the restoration at the Ringer's Quiz on Wednesday 8th January. Next quiz in aid of the bridge will be on Wednesday 5th February. Status of funding received is now:
c/f from 05 December above £3,501.25
Ringers Quiz 08/01/03 £71.00
Total Funds available £3,572.25
First Group Meeting of 2003 and a draft Engineering Brief inviting fee proposals for the first stage of work was available for review. It is hoped that the final version will be ready to issue to a number of Specialist Consultants / Engineers by week commencing 20th January. The purpose of the brief is to obtain prices for the engineering assessment work required during the Project Planning Stage. A similar exercise is underway to identify the cost of preparing an Access Plan. Once these prices are received, it will enable the Project Planning Grant Application to be finalised and submitted to the HLF.
We were advised earlier this month that The Rotary Club of New Mills, Marple & District's committee has agreed to donate £200 towards the Iron Bridge's restoration. This is extremely generous and once again shows just how much support there is locally for the campaign. We are very grateful to The Rotary Club for this fantastic offer.
The monthly quizzes at the Ring o' Bells are growing in popularity and the latest, on Wednesday 5th February, raised a record £112. We've also now received the donations of £500 from the McNair Trust and £200 from the Rotary Club. Once again, we thank both these organisations for their generous contributions to the campaign. Status of funding received is now:
c/f from 08 January above £3,572.25
Ringers Quiz 05/02/03 £112.00
McNair Trust donation £500.00
Rotary Club donation £200.00
Total Funds available £4384.25
The Engineering Brief for the first phase of work was issued to a number of consultant engineers during week commencing 20 January and tenders are due for return on 21 February.
Tenders for the first phase of work are now with SMBC and we are hoping to review these with them in the near future. Once a preferred consultant has been identified the costs can be finalised and the application to the HLF for a Project Planning Grant can be submitted.
In order to demonstrate to the HLF the level of support that exists within the local community for the restoration of the bridge, without sending the full petition and all the letters that have been received, we've prepared a document that summarises this, along with a breakdown of all the funding raised so far. Click here if you would like to read this document.
We've also prepared a booklet explaining all that has been learnt about the history of the bridge, the park and the people involved in its construction, which will also be included with the grant application. An on-line version of this booklet will be available soon.
Finally, for now, the last quiz at the Ringers on 5th March raised £55.50 towards the fund. We also held a mini-auction for the remaining pictures that were left over from the auction in August last year, which raised a further £27.50.
c/f from 08 February above £4384.25
Ringers Quiz 05/03/03 £55.50
Mini-auction of paintings £27.50
Total Funds available £4467.25
The Tenders for the first phase of the work were reviewed with SMBC and we were pleased to be able to contribute to the selection process. The decision will be announced when all the appropriate formalities have been complied with.
We met at the bridge with Tom Swailes (BSc (Hons) CEng MICE MIStructE) a lecturer from UMIST. Tom, who is an expert in several areas including refurbishment and history of structures, has taken an interest in the Brabyns Park Bridge and provided us with some very useful information. Most of this is included in a written report, which can be read by clicking this link. We are most grateful to Tom for the time and trouble he has taken to give our campaign the benefit of his expertise.
We met with SMBC to review and finalise the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Project Planning Grant. As we have said before this is an onerous process and a great deal of information has to be compiled, mostly by SMBC themselves. This is taking longer than we had anticipated and it was agreed to meet again for a further review on 2 May, when we hope the application will be ready for submission.
The Ring o' Bells quiz on 2 April raised a further £82 towards the restoration fund.
c/f from 16 March above £4467.25
Ringers Quiz 02/04/03 £82.00
Total Funds available £4549.25
The on-line version of the booklet prepared for submission with the HLF Project Planning Grant application is now available. Click this link to view.
Following delays to incorporate our comments the application for an HLF Project Planning Grant was finally posted today. Well done to Sally Curley, Nigel Boswell, Paul Hartley and Hoss Parsa at Stockport Council, who have all put in a great deal of effort to get everything just right. The HLF's guidance notes indicate that we can expect to hear of their decision within 3 months of them receiving our application, when they will write to us advising either:
that we have been awarded a Project Planning Grant and the amount of the grant; or
that our application has not been successful and the reason why.
Lets hope we have some good news to publish within the next three months.
Whilst waiting for the results of the grant application we're keeping our fund raising efforts ticking over in the hope that we can gradually build enough for our contribution towards the full restoration of the bridge. As this is obviously dependant on the success of our current application to the HLF, and we also don't yet know how much money is going to be needed, we are keeping this fairly low key.
Since our last update we've held two more quizzes at the Ring o' Bells. The one in May raised £81.70 and the one in June achieved an excellent £105.50. It is almost exactly twelve months since we started these regular quizzes at the Ringers and they have now contributed a fantastic £1002.30 towards the restoration fund.
c/f from 11 April above £4549.25
Ringers Quiz 07/05/03 £81.70
Ringers Quiz 04/06/03 £105.50
Total Funds available £4736.45
Look out for our stall in Memorial Park on Carnival Day, when we'll be putting on a display explaining how the campaign has progressed over the last year.
Another two quizzes held at the Ring o' Bells in July. One on the 2nd raised £67 and the other, on the 30th, raised £90.59 towards the fund. In addition, five copies of Then & Now - Marple and Mellor have so far been sold via the web site, contributing a further £5.
c/f from 7 June above £4736.45
Ringers Quiz 02/07/03 £67.00
Ringers Quiz 30/07/03 £90.59
Sale of Then & Now £5.00
Total Funds available £4899.04