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Popular exhibition crosses the river

A popular exhibition is being relocated, giving people even more opportunity to discover the rich history of one of the country’s oldest charities.

The Rochester Bridge Trust has provided and maintained crossings of the River Medway for more than 600 years – with the first bridge on the site built almost 2,000 years ago – but there is still much that remains unknown about the organisation among the general public, as visitors to the Bridge Works exhibition have been discovering.

Originally housed in the Crypt of Rochester Cathedral, the free exhibition proved so popular that its run was extended, and it is now relocating to the Medway Archives Centre in Strood, where it will remain until March.

Andrew Freeman, Operations Manager of the Rochester Bridge Trust, explained: “We’re really pleased by how well received the Bridge Works exhibition has been. It opened in November 2017 and was only supposed to run until June, but so many visitors came to see it that the Cathedral agreed to extend the exhibition until December.

“Bridge Works’ continued popularity means we’ve now agreed to take it on tour, with the Medway Archives Centre the first destination.

“As the bridges have been the link between Rochester and Strood for many hundreds of years we are particularly pleased to be able to take the exhibition across the river as a reminder of the shared history.”

Telling the story of the crossings that have helped shape the Medway area and the organisation that owns and looks after them, Bridge Works offers a combination of imagery, interactive displays and children’s activities to bring history to life. It has been designed to appeal to adults and children, with something for all levels of ability and interest.

As well as the free exhibition, the Trust is offering activity days for school groups. These will include a guided tour of the exhibits, followed by a related bridge engineering workshop. The visit is free but must be booked; email for dates and details.

Caroline Chisholm, Education Officer at the Trust, said: “We are keen to inspire as many young people as possible to take an interest in civil engineering, and the best way to do so is to catch their attention at an early age – before gender stereotyping sets in.

“These free tours and workshops show children – and their teachers – the civil engineering on their doorstep, introducing the fascinating 2,000-year story of Rochester’s bridges and helping the youngsters to understand how bridges are created.”

The exhibition will close at Rochester Cathedral on Sunday, 2nd December, re-opening in the Medway Archives Centre, 32 Bryant Road, Strood, ME2 3EP, on Monday, 10th December. It will run until Tuesday, 12th March.

The opening times at Medway Archives Centre are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 9am-5pm and Saturday, 9am-12.30pm. The children’s activity days will be offered when the centre is closed, on Wednesdays.

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