newsitem33e5 1

Building Bridges between Children and Engineering

Pupils from a Sidcup school emerged triumphant in this year’s Bridge Building Contest at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham.

The five-strong Benedict House team beat off competition from eight other schools at the event, which is now in its 11th year. Joining in the fun on Thursday, 19th March, were soldiers from the Royal Engineers and the Rochester Bridge Trust’s educational mascot, Langdon the Lion.

Using cardboard, tape, string and lollipop sticks, the budding Sidcup Year 6 engineers built a bridge able to take 8kg of weight. Second and third places went to schools from the Medway Towns.

Sue Threader from Rochester Bridge Trust, which sponsors the competition alongside the Madeline Mabey Trust, said: “We feel it’s important to teach children about civil engineering from an early age, and to see them learning and having fun is great. They were all very enthusiastic about bridge building, and we were really impressed by their efforts.”

Headmaster Nigel Kynaston said: “This is a wonderful example of practical science from which the children have learnt so much more by being ‘hands on’. We are so grateful to the Rochester Bridge Trust for this opportunity, and I am looking forward to seeing our school filled with bridges!”

Amber Cottee from the Royal Engineers Museum added: “The competition is a fantastic opportunity for children from local schools to visit the museum and meet real soldiers while taking part in exciting engineering activities.

“Throughout history, the Royal Engineers have built bridges for the Army in many places around the world, and this day enabled the children to gain an insight into the world of civil and military bridge building.”

Langdon the Lion, the mascot who promotes the Rochester Bridge Trust’s engineering education packs to primary schools, oversaw the afternoon competition. He said: “Like my ancestors, I’m happiest when I sit guarding a well-built bridge. I’m pleased to say all the bridges were of a good enough standard to deserve my guardianship.

“Well done to all the children who took part, but an extra big paw on the back to the competition winners from Benedict House.”

Visit the Trust’s Supporting Engineering Education website for further information about Langdon the Lion and the Rochester Bridge Trust’s work to educate children about civil engineering.


1. The Rochester Bridge Trust is a charitable trust that exists to maintain the old and new bridges at Rochester and serve the travelling public. It is the only surviving bridge trust still serving its original purpose, and it has served the people of Kent since 1399. The Trust also supports numerous community and education projects across historic Kent and Medway.

2. The Trust’s assets all derive from endowments of land and money in the 14th and 15th centuries and are carefully managed in order to provide an income to fund bridge maintenance and local charitable grants. The Trust receives no external funding and is regulated by the Charity Commission.

3. Langdon the Lion is a friendly character who guides children through the Rochester Bridge Trust’s free Key Stage 2 education packs. Comprising 12 lesson plans for educators, the books and associated Supporting Engineering Education website encourage youngsters to get involved with bridge building, trying out different techniques and thinking about the engineering challenges involved. Langdon was chosen as a mascot because of the lion statues on Rochester Bridge, while his name was taken from Langdon Manor Farm, one of the ancient properties belonging to the Rochester Bridge Trust.

For more information:

The Rochester Bridge Trust
5 Esplanade
Kent ME1 1QE
Tel: 01634 846706
Fax: 01634 840125

Share this story