- Monday, 21 July 2014 11:19
Matlock Bath's Jubilee Bridge will re-open on Wednesday (23 July) exactly the way it looked when first opened in 1887 to celebrate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Derbyshire Dales District Council commissioned the restoration earlier this year and work started at the end of April to make the bridge structurally sound for the future.
Connecting Matlock Bath's Promenade with the famous Lovers' Walks, the iconic bridge over the River Derwent is set to re-open on time ahead of the District Council's 2014 Matlock Bath Illuminations, which start their 117th season on Saturday 6 September.
Main contractors G.F Tomlinson Ltd of Derby have ensured all metalwork has been blast cleaned and defective metal re-plated, and the entire bridge re-painted with a 20-year guarantee.
The restoration bridges the years as it takes the structure back to the way it first looked 127 years ago.
Earlier this year local historian Rosemary Thacker unearthed a newspaper article from 1887 which revealed Jubilee Bridge was originally painted in four colours - the outer faces of the main girders in a 'warm stone', the inner parts of the girders 'blueish grey', scroll work 'deep chocolate' and finials picked out in 'golden yellow'.
These colours have been replicated using modern available paint, with the revised colours replacing a maroon and cream scheme introduced in 1987.
Chairman of the District of the Derbyshire Dales Councillor Carol Walker, who will cut the ribbon to officially reopen the bridge at 11am this Wednesday, said:
"This is the first facelift for the Jubilee Bridge since its centenary year and we are grateful to Rosemary Thacker for helping to make the restoration as authentic as possible.
"So soon after our present Queen drove past the bridge on her recent visit to the Dales, it is exciting to think that it now looks exactly the way it did when first unveiled to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee.
"We made the money available for the work from our capital programme after local people, traders and the local media correctly pointed out that the bridge was in need of attention. With this year's Illuminations only six weeks away, I am sure local people and visitors to Matlock Bath will approve of the transformation."
Andy Sewards, Director at G F Tomlinson, said he is proud to see the work completed on one of the area's local gems.
"The Jubilee Bridge is an iconic landmark and is of huge significance to the community in Matlock Bath having been built to celebrate the reign of Queen Victoria more than 125 years ago.
"We are pleased to have restored this amazing piece of architecture back to its former glory, having worked together with local historians, as well as the council. This has been the first time the bridge has received any refurbishment work since its centenary year more than 25 years ago, and Tomlinson's were thrilled to be invited by the Council to work with them on the re-instatement of this focal point in Matlock Bath," Mr Sewards added.