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Friends Of Friargate Bridge Blog

AGM Monday 4th February 2019

Our AGM on Monday was attended by a company of loyal Friends of Friar Gate Bridge, including once again a member who came all the way from Cambridgeshire.  

The existing trustees were re-elected and we are delighted to have elected two new ones: Cath Feely is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University with a special interest in the late 19th and 20th centuries; David Cross is from Rolls-Royce and has a strong programme management background.  We are glad of their involvement as individuals, and grateful for the support of the University and Rolls-Royce that they represent.  

We received the report of activities during the year, of which the main focus was our Heritage Lottery-funded Scoping Project.  The scoping project allowed us to do some work on our governance to ensure that we are a resilient organisation, and included an Options Study by Lathams Architects on potential uses of the Bridge.  Illustrations from Lathams’ report were on display at the meeting.  There was some discussion about next steps for the Bridge, acknowledging that it is difficult to move forward whilst plans for the adjoining Friar Gate Goods Yard and Bonded Warehouse remain unclear.  There was also some discussion of the need to seek alternative funding streams, as Heritage Lottery funding is becoming less readily available than in the past.

Finally, there was the opportunity to mingle and chat – and to sample the excellent wares of the Greyhound pub which very kindly provided our venue once again.

Friends Of Friargate Bridge AGM

MONDAY 4th February @ 7.30pm

The Friends of Friar Gate Annual General Meeting. For any further information please email friends@friargatebridge.co.uk
Including any interest of becoming a Trustee. There will be up to date information as to where the organisation is heading and the opportunity to join. Members only have voting rights at the AGM.

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 friends@friargatebridge.co.uk

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.