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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 06:54 GMT
Bridge museum plan a step closer
Menai Bridge: Picture - Jerry Armitage
The centre will celebrate the history of the Menai suspension bridge
Hopes for a museum to trace the history of the two Victorian bridges which cross the Menai Strait, has been given a 43,700 Heritage Lottery grant.

The Menai Bridge Community Heritage Trust (MBCHT) plans to use the money to pay an architect and project manager.

The Menai suspension bridge was built by Thomas Telford in 1826, with the admiralty insisting it had to be high enough for ships to pass underneath.

The Britannia bridge with rail link was built in 1850 by Robert Stephenson.

The chairman of the MBCHT said he was "delighted" with the grant.

'Very rewarding'

"The history of the bridges has international significance for civil engineering and the centre will attract tourists to support the regeneration of Menai Bridge and the surrounding area," said Professor Eric Sunderland.

Both bridges contributed to the how the area now looks, said Jean Baker the trust's project director.

There would be no town at Menai Bridge without the suspension bridge and Bangor grew because of the rail link over the Britannia Bridge, she said.

BRIDGE FACTS
The Britannia Bridge at sunset - photo: Ian Yule, from Anglesey
The A5 and Telford 's bridge were part of the first road built following an act of parliament.
The Britannia Bridge caught fire in 1970 and a full rail service was not restarted until 1974.
The road deck on the Britannia opened in 1980
Source: Spanning the Strait, Jean Baker.

Up to now all the work has been done by volunteers, but the money from the Heritage Lottery Fund will be used to employ an architect and project manager, so that within the next year the project will be ready for the next stage.

"We have been working towards this for nine years. We work full time and do this on a volunteer basis, but it is very rewarding when we get recognised with a grant such as this," Mrs Baker added.

The warehouse and pier master's house on Princes pier, in Menai Bridge, were built by the Davies family in the 1830s as the holding warehouse for exporting slate and importing wood and guano (bird droppings used as fertilizer) from the Americas.

They are now owned by Anglesey Council which will lease the buildings to the trust.




SEE ALSO
Bridge re-opens after paint job
11 Dec 05 |  North West Wales
In Pictures: Painting the bridge
08 Dec 05 |  In Pictures
Bridge photos go at auction
09 Apr 03 |  North West Wales

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