4:43pm Friday 24th January 2014
THE celebration of Chepstow Bridge’s 200th anniversary was discussed at a town council meeting.
The bridge, which is sometimes called the Old Wye Bridge and links Wales with England, will be 200 years old in July 2016.
It is proposed there will be talks in March or June this year to mark the first design of the bridge, which was overseen by steam locomotive pioneer John Urpeth Rastrick.
Councillor Ned Heywood said the “very beautiful” bridge “probably deserves more recognition than it has,” while Councillor Armand Watts said the bridge’s commemoration was a “fantastic opportunity”.
The contract to build the bridge was let to Hazledean, Rastrick and Co of Bridgenorth, with John Urpeth Rastrick as the designer of the project. It was Grade I-listed in 1975 and underwent major structural repairs in 1979.
The issue now is whether to support and celebrate several significant events which brought the historic bridge into being – its design and the signing of the contract.
On February 19, 1814, John Urpeth Rastrick received a letter from his London agent, saying that he was spending too much time on designing Chepstow Bridge and should be designing steam engines for export orders to the East Indies instead.
On March 19, he produced the first drawing of the bridge and on June 4, the contract was signed to demolish the old bridge and build the new Chepstow Bridge.
On March 25, 1815, an order was made to close the bridge and the foundation stone for the new bridge was laid in August, ahead of the opening ceremony on July 24, 1816.
In a report by Chepstow Town council’s town clerk, Sandra Bushell, it says that the curator of Chepstow Museum is looking into arrangements for an appropriate event which would take place in two years’ time.
The report says the town council has had an inquiry from the engineer who worked on the strengthening of the bridge a number of years ago regarding the arrangements and who has offered to give a talk about the work undertaken on the strengthening of the bridge.
Possible ideas include an evening with a talk, or talks about the bridge, its designs and structure and an exhibition about the history of the bridge.
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