Union Chain Bridge

The story of the bridge between Scotland and England

A special online talk is being held next week to discuss the Welsh connection between the bridge linking Scotland and England.

Engineering expert Stephen K. Jones will give an online talk about the Union Chain Bridge on Tuesday 23 February, focussing on its iron work and the innovative foundries in Wales that supplied it.

This will be the first in a new series of online events presented by the Union Chain Bridge: Crossing Borders, Inspiring Communities project, inspired by the bridge and its environs.

Stephens is a senior member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Visiting Research Fellow at Bath University. His talk will champion the Union Chain Bridge as a triumph of engineering and will discuss the innovative manufacturing processes behind its construction.

For anyone interested in history, heritage, or who has ever wondered how such an elegant bridge came to be built close to Berwick two-hundred years ago, this event should be richly rewarding.

The talk forms part of the public engagement programme which is running alongside the ongoing restoration of the Union Chain Bridge.

The extensive conservation project received £3.14million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in September 2019 and work to fully restore the bridge got underway in October last year.

The ambitious funding bid was put together by Northumberland County Council, Scottish Borders Council, Museums Northumberland and community group Friends of the Union Chain Bridge, following serious concerns about the condition of the world-famous structure.

Both councils committed match funding totalling £5.7m towards the £10.5m scheme, with other fundraising activities continuing to be progressed by the Friends of Union Chain Bridge in support of the project.

The talk will be held online, using Zoom, a medium the project team had not originally anticipated using.

Matt Storey from Museums Northumberland, said: ‘We’re looking forward to launching our talks programme despite original plans being to host them in person. Holding the talks online means that we can open them up to a broader geographical spread of people.

‘This helps us get the message about this pioneering and historically important bridge out to a wider audience. We’d still like locals who love the bridge to be there, though!’

Talks are planned to take place every two months. April’s talk will be delivered by Dr Nick Fraser from National Museums of Scotland on how important Berwickshire fossil finds have answered a conundrum in geology.

Stephen K. Jones will give his talk at 7pm on Tuesday 23 rd February, on Zoom. Free tickets for the talk are available from www.wegottickets.com/UnionChainBridge.

Find out more about the project to conserve the bridge, including how to get actively involved at www.unionchainbridge.org.