Archived lectures

As part of the centenary celebrations to mark the reconstruction of the Old Bridge, the Rochester Bridge Trust organised a series of free illustrated public lectures. All lectures were held in the Bridge Chapel. Places were on a first come basis and were limited to 40 people.

23rd January 2014, 7:00 p.m.
“Restoring the Bridge”, Sarah Cove

This lecture traced the history of Rochester Bridge by reference to the conservation and restoration of the Trust’s important collection of oil paintings. Sarah Cove is one of Britain’s foremost technical art historians and the recognised authority on John Constable’s oil painting materials and techniques. Read more about Sarah’s lecture.



13th February 2014, 7:00 p.m.
“Edwardian Rochester”, Bob Ratcliffe
This lecture explored life, industry and culture in Rochester just before the outbreak of the First World War, when the Trust was reconstructing the Old Bridge. Bob Ratcliffe is the President of the City of Rochester Society.



5th March 2014, 7:00 p.m.
“Edwardian Rochester”, Bob Ratcliffe
Repeat of 13th February lecture.



2nd April 2014, 1:00 p.m.
“Lady Darnley’s Wardrobe – Edwardian Fashion Uncovered”, Meridith Towne
This lecture examined the costume worn by Lady Darnley at the opening of the reconstruction of Rochester Bridge which was recreated as a centrepiece for the exhibition and was worn for the lecture by the speaker, Meridith Towne. Meridith is a costume historian and dressmaker who specialises in the construction of historical costume based on extensive research. This lecture included afternoon tea served on vintage china. Read more about Meridith’s lecture.



2nd April 2014, 7:00 p.m.
“Lady Darnley’s Wardrobe-Edwardian Fashion Uncovered”, Meridith Towne
Repeat of 2nd April afternoon lecture (without afternoon tea).



10th April 2014, 7:00 p.m.
“Reconstructing Rochester Bridge”, William Day (Hyder Consulting Ltd)
This lecture started with a brief review of the bridges at Rochester up until the time of the refurbishment of the Old Bridge in 1914 and considered the problems that had arisen with Cubitt’s cast iron arch bridge of 1856. The development of the new design was discussed, and the changes in the structural form were illustrated by the use of a model. William Day is a chartered engineer with over 30 years’ experience in historic structures.



24th April 2014, 7:00 p.m.
“Reconstructing Rochester Bridge”, Sue Threader
Repeat of 10th April lecture. Read more about Sue’s lecture.



8th May 2014, 7:00 p.m.
“I declare this bridge open – the story of the opening ceremony”, Sue Threader
This lecture examined the events of 14th May 1914 when the reconstructed Old Bridge was formally opened by Lady Darnley. By reference to documents and photographs from the Trust’s archives, examination of the details of the opening ceremony gave a fascinating insight into the attitudes and society of the day. Refreshments for this event included tea/coffee and slices of gateau based on the celebration cake which was served at the luncheon in 1914. Sue Threader is Bridge Clerk to the Rochester Bridge Trust. Read more about Sue’s lecture.



9th May 2014, 7:00 p.m.
“I declare this bridge open – the story of the opening ceremony”, Sue Threader
Repeat of 8th May lecture.