The Tamar Bridge & Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee wins Heritage Lottery Fund Support - 23.12.2016

The Tamar Bridge & Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee wins Heritage Lottery Fund support for its project 'Bridging the Tamar' - the creation of a Learning Centre exploring the Tamar Estuary's two key bridges.

It has been announced today that the Tamar Bridge & Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee (TB&TF) has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to create a learning centre to celebrate the heritage of both the Tamar Bridge and Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge. The project will develop a proposed Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) hub, overlooking the two bridges and deliver a programme of events and learning activities led by a Community, Learning and Volunteering coordinator. The TB&TF will develop the project in liaison with partners including Plymouth History Centre, schools, universities and local community organisations to maximize public benefit and interest.

Development funding of £37,000 has been awarded to help The Joint Committee progress its plans to apply for a full grant of £272,700 at a later date. If successful with the next grant application it is likely that the centre will be open early in 2019.

The project considers the two great bridge structures both as entities in their own right and as factors in the continuing heritage of movement of people and goods across the Tamar. The engineering brilliance of both the 20th century road bridge (the country's longest at the time of its construction) and Brunel's iconic 19th century Royal Albert Bridge would be observed from the planned outdoor classroom, the viewing platform on the proposed administration building and from the road bridge. The Learning Centre will explore the history of the bridges with both internal and external displays and interactive features.

It is planned that the quality, evolution and innovation of the road bridge would also be explained through an extensive photographic archive of its construction with accompanying stories of those involved since 1959, and during guided tours and trails for adults and children.

Visitors would also have the opportunity to see mimic control centre screens demonstrating how operators manage and monitor the road bridge, the Saltash Tunnel and the tolling system to keep traffic moving smoothly and providing safe, reliable and efficient crossings of the river.

To bring all of this to fruition the Learning Centre would employ a full-time Community, Learning and Volunteering Officer and recruit, train and support around 150 volunteers.

These two bridges are known nationally and internationally, and whilst the scene is recognisable to many, most are unaware of the associated engineering and social history. For over 50 years the bridge site has been a popular place to break a journey, stretch legs, admire the stunning setting and marvel at the bridges. It is a great shame that because of limited current facilities most people leave physically refreshed but little wiser about the rich heritage of their surroundings. The Learning Centre aims to correct this and spread knowledge to a much wider audience as an educational attraction and experience.

For further information : https://www.hlf.org.uk/about-us/news-features/bridging-tamar's-past-and-future-thanks-national-lottery-players

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