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Friends Of Friargate Bridge Blog

4th June 2018 Trustees’ meeting

Here are some key points from the meeting of trustees and key volunteers on Monday 4th June 2018:

  • We elected Gordon Inglis as an addtional trustee, and are very happy to welcome him.  Gordon has been away from Derby for some years but is returning as the Headteacher of the new Cathedral School.
  • Gordon will work with Steve Jackson (a retired headteacher) to help Friends of Friar Gate Bridge to achieve its educational remit, focussing on the remarkable character and achievements of Andrew Handyside, who created Friar Gate Bridge in his Derby foundry.
  • The Friends of Friar Gate Bridge presentation to the Derby Renaissance Board in May was favourably received.  This has made us some new friends who support our objectives of restoring the Bridge and stimulating regereration in its vicinity.
  • We are continuing to seek comments from important stakeholders on the draft options study report produced for us by Lathams architects, to understand better how the regeneration of the Bridge will relate to other developments in the area.

Cleaning and drainage

Scaffolding is now in place for drainage improvements and abutment cleaning by the City Council.  The outflow from the Bridge’s existing drainage channels will be improved by installing downpipes on the faces of the abutments and ducting the water across the pavements to the street gutters.  This should stop water running down the abutments, corroding the ends of the arch beams and turning the walls green.  The abutments will be cleaned by a water jetting process.  This is not part of the full restoration that we are working towards, but it will minimise deterioration in the meantime and make the scene under the Bridge a lot less dank and dismal.

23rd April 2018 Trustees’ meeting

Here are some of our current priorities, as discussed at the meeting of trustees and key volunteers on Monday 23rd April 2018:

  • We are preparing to speak to the Derby Renaissance Board about our plans to restore the Bridge and the potential for local regeneration that goes along with it.  The Renaissance Board includes representatives of the City Council, local businesses, the University and the voluntary sector.
  • We are waiting with interest to see how plans for the Friar Gate Goods Yard site develop, because they are likely to influence the way the Bridge is developed and interfaces with adjoining sites.  Lathams architects are carrying out an options study for us, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund; completion of this is on hold until the picture for the Goods Yard becomes clearer.
  • We are making preparations to ensure that we comply with the new General Data Protection Regulations.
  • We are in need of additional trustees with a range of professional skills, and of additional volunteers.  Our governance consultant (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund) has given us some guidance on how to go about recruiting trustees; converting this advice into a practical plan is a priority for us.

If you are interested in taking a pro-active role with Friends of Friargate Bridge then do please feel free to contact us at

Friar Gate Bridge Drainage

Some considerable time ago Derby City Council allocated funding to remedial work to minimise the deterioration of Friar Gate Bridge.  Some vegetation has already been removed, and work is due to start on 3rd April to improve the drainage and clean the abutments.  The Bridge’s in-built drainage channels are blocked, so it suffers from water pooling on the deck plates and running down the abutments.  The work is not part of the ultimate restoration but is a very welcome step to reduce the corrosion of the ironwork and improve the appearance of the stonework.

5th March 2018 Trustees’ meeting

Here are some key points from the FFGB trustees’ meeting on 5 March 2018:

  • A great deal of activity is currently taking place relative to the development of 20 acres of land adjoining the Bridge. The report for Latham Architect, on options for the long time use of the Bridge, was scheduled for completion end of March 2018 – but it was agreed that the report deadline would be extended for a further 2 months so that these developments can be fully taken into account. If necessary a further extension will be agreed to ensure that the best option for the Bridge can be selected.
  • The Friar Gate Bridge presentation by Peter Mosley is receiving excellent feedback – and further bookings are being arranged. These presentations serve to further heighten awareness of the importance of the Bridge to the heritage of Derby. Peter’s presentation is informative and entertaining, so let us know if you would like him to come and speak to your group.
  • Peter is now in contact with Keith Blood (Blue Badge Tourist Guide for the county of Derbyshire) with a view to jointly promoting each other’s presentations.
  • Although FFGB has no responsibility for the Goods Yard site, its development could have a material effect on what is best for the Bridge. The sale of part of the Goods Yard site for the new Cathedral School seems to be unlocking possibilities for the rest of the site, which adjoins the Bridge and includes the warehouse and most of the arches.
  • Following discussion with Elizabeth Heaton, Rolls-Royce have agreed to produce lesson plans and materials, integrated with the Key Stage 2 curriculum, that can be delivered by the trainees, teachers, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) ambassadors and other volunteers in primary schools. Ten R-R employees are working on this project, which is scheduled to be finished by the end of the current year – and then rolled out into schools.
  • The FFGB team working on material for the R-R project are now Elizabeth Heaton, Peter Mosley, Steve Jackson (retired primary school headmaster) and Gordon Inglis, Head Teacher Designate of the new Derby Cathedral school to be built on 9 acres of land adjoining the Bridge.
  • Following a further meeting with our ‘Governance Consultants (Debbie Read) a plan and material for Trustee recruitment is being prepared. Further Key Volunteers are still being sought.

Annual General Meeting 22nd January 2018

The Friends of Friar Gate Bridge AGM took place in January in the Greyhound Inn (and we thank the Greyhound for making us welcome).  The meeting was attended by a good company of members, including one who had come all the way from March in Cambridgeshire.  They included links by shared membership with the Derby Civic Society, the Railway and Canal Historical Society, the Great Northern Railway Historical Society and the Victorian Society.  After the presentation of the trustees’ report and financial report there was a lively discussion about the future of the Bridge and its relationship with the adjoining Goods Yard and Warehouse site.

Elizabeth Heaton, Malcolm Holden and Howard Thomas were re-elected as trustees, and Mandy Coons made a welcome return as a trustee.  One of our priorities in the coming months is to increase the number of trustees, especially adding to the skills needed to run a heritage restoration project.

The meeting ended with Peter Mosley’s informative and entertaining illustrated talk on Friar Gate Bridge.  It’s very good – so let us know if you have a group you would like Peter to come and speak to.

Charity Horse Race Evening – 26 Jan 2018 at Rykneld Bowling Club

The Charity Horse Race Evening at Rykneld Bowling Club on  26 Jan 2018 went very well. Here is a report from their website:—26-jan-2018.html 

Our second Race Horse Evening in support of the Charity ‘Friends of Friar Gate Bridge’ (FFGB) took place in the Clubhouse on Friday 26 January 2018.

It was another ‘sell-out’ event and a great evening of entertainment – with the profits being split 50/50 with FFGB.
It was also the first opportunity to use our new Audio / Visual equipment – installed by Liam Kirkland and Martin – to whom we are most grateful.
Our thanks go to:-

1. The marketing team of Gordon Lathwell, Malcolm Holden, Elizabeth Heaton (FFGB) and Howard Thomas (FFGB) who found sponsors and pre-sold horses to some 56 ‘owners’.

2. The Race Sponsors:-
    • Race 1 – A W Lymn – The Family Funeral Service
    • Race 2 – Mary Moore – supported by Sainsbury’s and ASDA
    • Race 3 – Ted Goodhall (RVM)
    • Race 4 – The Housework Fairy
    • Race 5 – The Rykneld Cartel – John Dixon, Richard Knowles and Malcolm Holden
    • Race 6 – Batchelor Pads Lettings Agency
    • Race 7 – Littleover Betting Services.

3. Mary Moore for controlling the entrance door, selling raffle tickets and for running the ASDA raffle at the end of the evening. 

4. The ‘bookies’ – Joanne Lawton and Mandy Coons from FFGB, who provided the horse race video, race cards and made everything run smoothly on the evening.
5. Helen Legg, Sheila Knowles, Ann Lewis, Em Mansfield and Pat Bousefield for the catering at half-time.
6. Barrie Ladds for manning the bar throughout the evening.
7. Dennis Young for the closing vote of thanks to everyone for all their hard work in putting this event together.

8th January 2018 Trustees’ meeting

Here are some key points from the FFGB trustees’ meeting on 8 January 2018:

  •  Two representatives from the Derby Civic Society attended the meeting and have offered to provide direct help to FFGB where required.
  •  Consideration is being given to making a (limited) announcement of progress at the Marketing Derby breakfast meeting on Friday 19 January 2018 at Intu.
  •  If anyone has suggestions for changes to the new website, developed by Jayne Courts of Human Interface Publications – please do get in touch with her.
  •  Latham Architects are progressing well with their project to evaluate the most viable option for the restoration and long-term sustainable use of the Bridge. A final report is planned within the next 3 months.
  • An initial meeting was held with our appointed ‘Governance Consultant’ on Monday 15 January and a forward plan sketched out – encompassing advice on the appropriate Organisation Structure for FFGB and a comprehensive Governance Review.
  • To prepare ourselves for the future, recruitment of 2-3 suitable Trustees has been allocated our number one priority. We are looking for people who are passionate the project and we would like to hear from anyone who is interested.