15 January 2015



Here is a re-cap for anyone who has recently joined the Group or anyone who is interested in the Union Chain Bridge.

Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council aim to restore the bridge in time for its bicentenary in 2020.  NCC has put aside £500,000 for the restoration.  Scottish Borders Council will discuss its contribution at a meeting on 12th February 2015.

Consultants appointed by NCC will make an initial approach to the Heritage Lottery Fund.  They are Carol and Frank Robinson from Consult Robinson.  Please see www.consultrobinson.co.uk for more information.  Some of the Trustees met them on 17th December.

The UCB Friends Group currently has 295 members – including a descendant of  Captain Sir Samuel Brown – which is a great demonstration of support for the restoration of the bridge.  The Group aims to become a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) in the New Year.

Aside from this, the Friends have made a visit to the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge to learn how its restoration was carried out.  Here follows a report from Ted Cawthorn: -

“On the 28th November Trustees John Home Robertson and Edward Cawthorn, together with James Fell the County Council’s Heritage Officer and Frank Robinson the Heritage Lottery Fund Bid Consultant appointed by NCC visited the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge, where they were briefed by the Middlesbrough Council Team responsible for the Council’s successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid towards the restoration and refurbishment of the 100 year old iconic structure and winding machinery and its development as a heritage feature.  The Transporter Bridge, which dominates the Middlesbrough skyline, was opened on the 17th October 1911 and is the longest transporter bridge in the world, with a total length of 259 metres and a maximum height from the river of 69 metres.

The Middlesbrough Council Officers gave an interesting, detailed and cautionary account of their experiences with their bid and the processes involved in establishing the principle of eligibility for HLF assistance, and were happy to be associated with the Union Bridge bid and to maintain a continuing relationship with the Friends”.

Trustees John Home Robertson and Stephen Gallico have recently been to two meetings, firstly with an official at the Scotland Office to discuss the possible involvement of the Westminster and Edinburgh Governments with the project, and secondly with representatives of a major construction contractor who have offered to help in various ways.

Heather Thompson
Chairman, Friends of the Union Chain Bridge

11 January 2015

Nostalgic Views of the North - Thursday 15th January

Sheila or John Moreels M.B.E. will give the third in a series of talks on Thursday 15th January at 7.30pm Church Hall, Thornhill Road, Ponteland. Visitors welcome £2.00

The Ward Philipson photographic images on glass plates, lantern slides and negatives, many of which have never been viewed for many years display all aspects of North East life including historic buildings, history of people and communities, historic places and events, landscapes and gardens of the past, industry, maritime, coalmining and transport history.
Following the capture, restoration and research of a small selection of the Ward Philipson photographic archive, we want to share the images with various groups and organisations throughout the North of England. With some of the images dating back over 300 years, thanks to the skilful work of world famous engravers and etchers, everyone viewing the talks and presentations can find pure nostalgia and enjoyment in every image. There are still over 130,000 images to be scanned and restored and it will take the current team of volunteers many years to complete the task. The story is amazing..........

There will also be an  offerof their the new book at a special price to your members, £8 instead of the RRP £14.95.


06 January 2015

15th January 2015 John and Sheila Moreels. “Nostalgic Views of the North – 3."

Meeting starts at 7.30pm. visitors welcome. £2.00 for non members. Get there early seats fill fast! Church Hall, Thornhill Road, Ponteland

Refurbishment of Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel

Click here to Hear about the project

Speaker: Malcolm Shaw
The Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnels are due to re-open in the Spring/Summer of 2015, for use by another generation of pedestrians and cyclists crossing the river Tyne between Howdon and Jarrow.
This talk describes the refurbishment and modernisation together with structural repairs and remediation works of this Grade II listed structure.