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Posted By Robert. Stephenson

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) North East has launched a new and unusual leaflet celebrating the bridges of the Border region.

The colour leaflet, written by ICE North East’s Panel for Historical Engineering Works gives insight into nine noteworthy historical Border Bridges across the Tweed and its tributaries; Whiteadder Water and the River Till.

Seven of the bridges actually span the English-Scottish border which, for a considerable distance runs through the middle of the river. This means that for each of the bridges, one side stands in the Scottish borders, the other in England’s northernmost county; Northumberland.

The leaflet details the background of each of these bridges, sharing little known facts about their history and engineering. On their completion, many of them held world or British records and a range of famous figures have built or visited the border bridges.

Leading Scottish engineer, Robert Stevenson, attended the opening of the Union Suspension Bridge in 1820. Thirty years later, Tyneside’s Robert Stephenson built the majestic Royal Border Bridge which opened by Queen Victoria in 1850, with the 160th anniversary landing on August 29, 2010.

The Royal Tweed Bridge was opened by Edward VIII (then Edward Prince of Wales) while the rebuilding of the Old Berwick Bridge in stone was ordered by James I who had to cross a dilapidated wooden structure to travel to his coronation. Coldstream Bridge is the site of a plaque commemorating the crossing of Robert Burns as he entered England for the first time in May 1787.

There are permitted footpaths for most of the length of the River Tweed from Coldstream to Tweedmouth, and along the Till and Whiteadder Water, making it easy to enjoy these feats of engineering and the surrounding countryside.

A route visiting each of the bridges would be approximately 20 miles whilst one showcasing just the seven on the River Tweed would be around 16 miles.

Selecting the top nine was not an easy task. Stephen Larkin, Regional Director, ICE North East said: “The list of bridges worth noting in the border counties is endless but the final nine are all particularly impressive structurally.”

He continued: “The bridges on our Historic Border Bridges map demonstrate the impressive engineering heritage of the region. By creating the leaflet we hope more people will visit, appreciate and be inspired by the structures.”

Anybody who would like a copy of the leaflet can contact ICE North East on 0191-2611850 or icene@ice.org.uk. Copies are also being made available at tourist information centres and public buildings around the Berwick area.

 
Posted By Robert. Stephenson



Buckingham Covers are proud to be working once again with the Institution of Civil Engineers to bring you this stunning cover featuring a painting by the Limner, Jon Hall, depicting the bridge commissioned by ICE North East.

Opened by Queen Victoria on 29th August 1850, this majestic masonry viaduct of 28 arches over the Tweed completed the rail connection between London and Edinburgh. The viaduct was designed by Robert Stephenson with the assistance of Thomas Elliot Harrison, later to become engineer to the North Eastern Railway when it was formed in 1854. The resident engineer was (Sir) George Barclay Bruce and the contractors were James McKay and J Blackstock.

 

£9.95 from Buckingham Covers

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Posted By Robert. Stephenson

 

The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers was founded in Nwcastle in 1866. The renowned engineer Robert Stephenson bequeathed £2000 towards the building of a permanent home for the Institute. A site was purchased in 1867 and building commenced in 1869. Designed by Archibald Matthias Dunn (1832-1917), Neville Hall is an example of High Victorian Gothic architecture. The building presents two faces, each of three main bays, pivoted around a polygonal turret, with a Venetian balcony projecting from the north front and a wide gable thrusting out at the west.
The building of Neville Hall defined Newcastle as the epicentre of the coal trade, the dominant industry of North East England. Inside the building is the Wood Memorial Hall, a library named after the colliery engineer Nicholas Wood (1795-1865). Wood gained experience of mine engineering at Killingworth Colliery under George Stephenson, and assisted Stephenson in the development of his safety lamp and the construction of the Stockton to Darlington railway. 
 
In 1844 Wood became manager of Hetton Colliery in County Durham. Over the next two decades he became the pre-eminent colliery engineer on the northern coalfield and in 1862 he was elected first President of the Institute. Wood was a supporter of education for the working classes and built several schools in mining villages across County Durham. . The Wood Memorial Hall is dominated by a shrine-like monument to Wood, with a pristine statue sculpted by Edward William Wyon (1811-85). 
 

The design of Neville Hall is highly revealing. The choice of architect can largely be explained by nepotism. Dunn’s father, Matthias Dunn (c.1789-1869) was a prominent figure in the history of mining and one of the first government Inspectors of Mines. As a founding member of the Institute he was instrumental in securing the prestigious commission for his son.

The Venetian Gothic style used at Neville Hall had the loquacious support of the famous art critic John Ruskin. Arguably, this made the style symbolically appropriate for a Mining Institute, a body concerned with delving into the earth. Dunn was among the legion of young architects whom Ruskin inspired to tour the continent, and he spent his time sketching examples of French and Italian architecture.
 
Posted By Robert. Stephenson

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