The links between the county town and one of the county’s oldest charities are to be celebrated in a free exhibition.
The Rochester Bridge Trust has provided and maintained crossings of the River Medway for more than 600 years – including twice contributing to Maidstone Bridge – but there is still much that remains unknown about the organisation among the general public, including the fact the charity was involved in the establishment of both of Maidstone Grammar School for Girls.
Opening soon in Maidstone Museum, Bridge Works is a touring exhibition that brings this story to life using imagery, interactive displays and children’s activities. It has been designed to appeal to adults and children with something for all levels of ability and interest – and has already proved popular during appearances in Tonbridge and across Medway.
As well as the exhibition itself, schools are invited to sign up for free engineering activity mornings, which involve a guided tour of the exhibition, followed by hands-on bridge building workshops.
Caroline Chisholm, Education Manager at the Trust, explained: “These free engineering education mornings are designed to inform and inspire primary-aged children from schools or home education groups, because being able to support the activities with examples on their doorstep is a great way to open their eyes to the potential of civil engineering.”
The Trust’s relationship with Maidstone stretches back almost 150 years, to when eminent engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette designed the town’s Victorian bridge. Since significantly widened and modernised, the plans for that original crossing are still stored within the Trust’s archives.
Bridge Works first opened in the Crypt of Rochester Cathedral in October 2017, it has since travelled, more recently being housed at Tonbridge Castle.
The exhibition opens at Maidstone Museum on 10th April, running until 31st October 2020. The museum is open 10am-5pm Tuesday to Saturday, and 12-4pm on Sundays. Entry is free.