The Rochester Bridge Trust is an ancient charity originally formed to build and maintain the medieval bridge across the River Medway at Rochester. Today the Trust is a registered charity with two primary purposes:
Annual income not required for these primary purposes is paid firstly into a sinking fund for the reconstruction of the bridges. Thereafter, the Trust may make grants for the promotion of charitable purposes in the United Kingdom, primarily in the county of Kent. The grant programme is intended to reflect the Trust’s own history, values, activities, and objectives. This has included funding the Chair of Bridge and Tunnel Engineering at the Medway Campus of the University of Greenwich.
During the reigns of Richard II and Henry IV the Wardens and Commonalty of Rochester Bridge were endowed by Sir John de Cobham and other benefactors with lands in London, Kent and Essex, the income from which was to be used for the repair and maintenance of Rochester Bridge. Over the centuries some of these properties have been sold and other properties purchased and investments made in their place, but part of the original endowment still remains in the property portfolio of the Rochester Bridge Trust, including land at Dartford, Faversham, and Grain, and buildings on Rochester High Street. The income from the Trust’s properties and investments continues to pay for the maintenance and repair of the bridges at Rochester without any contribution from taxes or tolls. The Rochester Bridge Trust today still operates its bridges according to its ancient motto – publica privatis – meaning “from the private for the public.”
Like every other registered charity, The Rochester Bridge Trust is fully accountable to The Charity Commissioners in England and Wales and every year files its annual accounts with The Charity Commission. Accounts for recent years can be viewed on The Charity Commission website or by clicking on the links below: