Heritage Open Days – a festival of history and culture

Hundreds of visitors took the opportunity to tour Rochester’s medieval Bridge Chapel and Victorian Bridge Chamber during this year’s Heritage Open Days event.

As well as opening its doors to the public, the Rochester Bridge Trust organised Hard Hat Tours to explore hidden areas of its bridges over the River Medway, put on a lecture and organised an exhibition that utilised items from the Trust’s extensive archive.

The free lecture – and complementary exhibition – covered the topic of Rochester Bridge in Times of Conflict. Presented by Ray Harris of the Court of Wardens and Assistants of Rochester Bridge, the lecture encompassed the period from the English Civil War onwards, with primary emphasis on the two world wars. The exhibition, which can be viewed until the end of October, expands upon topics covered in the lecture, covering the broader period of 14-20th century.

A total of 721 members of the public visited the buildings during the five days they were open. Now fully accessible following a recent refurbishment, the Bridge Chapel and Chamber house the Trust’s archives and are home to a substantial collection of antique furniture and paintings.

The fully booked bridge tours, which were led by Bridge Programme Manager and civil engineer Kate Castle, took 30 people in five small groups inside, under and over the Trust’s bridges to find out more about the engineering involved in the structures.

Alison Cable, Archives & Records Manager, said: “We were delighted so many people were interested to learn more about the historic buildings and bridges which are at the heart of the Rochester Bridge Trust.

“The buildings, their contents and the bridges have a fascinating tale to tell and we were pleased to share them with our Heritage Open Days visitors.”

The Bridge Chapel and Chamber will remain open to the public on Thursdays and Saturdays until the end of October. Please see the events page for times and details.

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