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Centenary Event Reveals Engineering History

A forthcoming lecture will reveal a little known fact about one of Kent’s bridges and establish the county’s place in engineering history.

The free event, being held by Kent and East Sussex Heritage Engineering Group, will celebrate the centenary of Bow Bridge in Wateringbury.

Re-built in 1915, following a joint project between the local district council and Rochester Bridge Trust, the bridge remains a very rare survivor of the early use of reinforced concrete, a revolutionary technique developed by two French engineers that became known as the Mouchel-Hennebique system.

The lecture will consider the history of the bridge and its construction, along with a look at the development of the then unusual material and the specific technique used. Guest speaker Edwin Trout of The Concrete Society will provide the technical details, while Sue Threader of the Rochester Bridge Trust will utilise the charity’s extensive archives to talk about the history of Bow Bridge.

Mrs Threader explained: “Bow Bridge may not be as visually striking as some of its more well-known counterparts, but that is no reflection on its place in engineering history.

“As an early example of a reinforced concrete bridge, it is important both as a rare survivor of this form of construction and also for enabling the people of Wateringbury to cross the River Medway safely for over one hundred years.”

The free event, which has been organised by the Institution of Civil Engineers Kent and East Sussex Heritage Engineering Group, takes place at Oakwood House Conference Centre in Maidstone on Wednesday, 7th October, from 6pm.

Click to book your place or request more information.


Crossing the Medway from medieval times to the modern day:

1. The Rochester Bridge Trust was founded in 1399 and is the only surviving independent bridge trust that still serves its original purpose. The Trust owns and maintains the road and service bridges over the Medway at Rochester and has contributed to the cost of many other Medway crossings over the centuries. It makes charitable grants and supports other charitable and educational projects in Kent.

2. The Trust’s income derives from 14th- and 15th-century endowments, and assets are carefully managed to provide funds for bridge maintenance and future replacement as well as charitable activities. It provides its services entirely free to the public. The Trust receives no external funding and is regulated by the Charity Commission.

Supporting Engineering Education:

1. Langdon the Lion is a friendly character who guides children through the Trust’s free Key Stage 2-level education packs.

2. Comprising 12 lesson plans for educators, the books and associated website encourage youngsters to get involved with bridge building, trying out different techniques and thinking about the engineering challenges involved.

3. Langdon was chosen as a mascot because of the lion statues on Rochester Old Bridge, while his name was taken from Langdon Manor Farm, one of the original properties bequeathed to the Trust.

For more information:

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

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