4th December 2017

The long-awaited bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to safeguard the future of the Bridge was submitted on the 1st December.  Pupils from Norham St Ceolwulf’s First School in Northumberland and Swinton Primary School in Berwickshire  were joined by Friends’ Chairman, Robbie Hunter and Councillors from both sides of the border on December 4th 2017 to mark thishistoric occasion.   It is hoped that an HLF grant will deliver numerous cultural, heritage and community benefits  as well as securing the primary objective of the local communities – the repair and restoration of a cherished and invaluable local amenity.

Cllr Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Roads and Infrastructure, said: “This is a significant moment for the Union Chain Bridge and the campaign to safeguard its future and provide various benefits to the community.  The importance of the Bridge is highlighted by the various letters of support the HLF bid  has received from across the world, including Canada, Japan and Norway.  Both Scottish Borders and Northumberland County Councils are fully committed to this project, and each have pledged £1 million to the overall costs”

Cllr Glen Sanderson, Northumberland County Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment and Local Services, said: “We’re delighetd to have reached this major milestone in this project.  So much work has gone on behind the scenes on both sides of the border and I appreciate everything that’s been done so far to allow us to submit a strong bid.”

Friends’ Chairman, Robbie Hunter, added: “I have been very impressed by the level of support we have received from the local community but also internationally, particularly from bridge engineers.  It would be a tragedy if we cannot start the restoration of the bridge in time for its bicentenary in 2020”

The bid focusses on conserving and raising awareness of the imternationally significant bridge and its nearby attractions, providing sustainable learning opportunities for young people inspired by the bridge’s innovative engineering and developing meaningful cross-border heritage projects and partnerships.  If the project passes the HLF first round (the decision is due in March 2018) it will move into a one-year development phase to progress the scheme further, ahead of a second-round submission in March 2019.

Definitive History Published

1st January 2018

Gordon Miller and Stephen K Jones’ newly-released history of the Union Bridge and its designer and builder, Capt Sir Samuel Brown, with a “bonus” chapter on the Brown’s chainworks, Brown Lenox & Co., is now available. See our Publications page for further details and a downloadable order form.

Visitors from Japan

12th October 2017

The Friends hosted a visit by two prominent Japanese bridge engineers on the 12th October 2017.  Professor Hiroshi Isohata, a civil engineer now Professor ofCivil Engineering at Nihon University, Tokyo, and Dr Kitagawa, a research consultant, formerly of the Agency of Culture of the Japanese government, were in the UK on a study tour and met Friends’ trustees and patrons for a briefing onthe progress of the retoration project.  Both had previously visited the Bridge and Professor Isohata, who published an article on the Bridge’splight intheJapanese Bridge and Foundation Magazine in 2015, isinstrumental in promoting a project to recognise the Bridge internationally on its bicentenary in 2020.  Friends’ patron, Gordon Miller, briefed the visitors on previous restoration works and on a controversial proposal to remove the wire supporting ropes added in 1902 as part of the forthcoming restoration.