Protecting our heritage for generations to come

18th December 2020

The UK’s rich, and sometime turbulent history has left a powerful legacy in many of its buildings and landscapes. When we start to think about our heritage, we draw on many famous iconic structures that have shaped the country’s fortunes, whether it be through invasion and conquest, religious belief, or travel and trade. From castles and cathedrals, to battlefields and stately homes, our past has shaped the country we live in today.

Our hometown, Darlington, was the birthplace of the railways. The Stockton and Darlington Railway company that operated from 1825 to 1863 was the first in the world to use steam locomotives. These railways led to the development and growth of the steel industry all over the world, and many still form part of our work today.

Preserving our heritage is essential, and we were incredibly proud to undertake an ambitious conservation project which saw Gaunless Bridge, the world’s first iron bridge, brought to permanent display at Shildon’s Locomotion rail museum recently. Designed by renowned railway pioneer George Stephenson, and built in 1823, the bridge was dismantled in 1901 and carefully preserved. Since 1927, it has been a centrepiece of the North Eastern Railway’s museum in York.

As well as the world’s first iron bridge, our history encompasses some of the UK’s most iconic structures. We were responsible for building Wales’ Menai Suspension bridge, which was the first modern suspension bridge in the world, and the Forth Road Bridge, which was the longest suspension bridge in Europe at its time of construction.

Cleveland Bridge also built four of the seven bridges that span the River Tyne in Newcastle, and we carried out strengthening work on a fifth.

Preserving heritage is just as important as creating it. We were exceptionally proud to have worked at Goathland Station earlier this year after being appointed to fabricate and install a new 84-tonne steel bridge, replacing the original which was damaged beyond repair.

Maybe better known as Hogsmeade station in the first Harry Potter film, Goathland is one of the few remaining railways that steam trains still pass through. Importantly, the design of the new bridge mirrored the classic styling of the original bridge, preserving the look in its natural setting.

Projects like this are important to Cleveland Bridge, and we are just as committed to preserving our heritage as we are to building new iconic structures. The UK is blessed to have some of the best architecture in the world. Not just recent buildings, but also stunning examples from centuries gone by.

Our heritage provides future generations with clues to our past and how our society has evolved. Britain’s rich history is also a strong driver in attracting overseas tourists. Our famous buildings and monuments, castles and stately homes are well regarded. Britain is seen as a world class destination in terms of its built heritage, it is therefore essential to maintain these assets to ensure we can protect our architectural heritage for future generations.

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