Saturday February 13 2016

Warrington's historic bridges nominated for new Civil Engineering Heritage Award

A prestigious institution today announced that two remarkable bridges in Warrington have been nominated for a newly-established Heritage Award

Warrington's historic bridges nominated for new Civil Engineering Heritage Award

A prestigious institution today announced that two remarkable bridges in Warrington have been nominated for a newly-established Heritage Award (1) – the 100-year-old Transporter Bridge and the even older Woolston Eyes Footbridge (pictured) (2).

The Institution of Civil Engineers North West has introduced the new award this year to celebrate historic civil engineering features that people and communities know and love. The new award will complement the Institution’s annual awards which are already held to showcase the best of the region’s new civil engineering work.

Warrington Transporter Bridge: one of a handful left in the world

The famous Warrington Transporter Bridge, which will be 100 years old later this year, has a fascinating history, from transporting cement rail wagons, workers and trucks to being used as a fire watching post during the Second World War. It is said to be the only rail transporter bridge amongst eight transporter bridges left in the world. It is Grade 2* listed on English Heritage’s At Risk Register.

Margaret Ingham, Chairman of Friends of Warrington Transporter Bridge (FOWTB), said “This is a great boost for our campaign to make the Transporter Bridge better known and more appreciated in the North West. We are holding a Centenary Day for the bridge in September 2016. It would be the icing on the cake to win and display the award on the day.”

Cllr Terry O’Neill, leader of Warrington Borough Council, said: “It’s great to see a Warrington landmark being recognised in this way. Warrington is very proud of its civil engineering heritage and we welcome the nomination. Hopefully it will take us another step closer to securing external heritage funds in order to protect the future of the bridge.”

Woolston Eyes Footbridge – reckoned the oldest surviving bridge of its type in England

A less well known Warrington bridge has also been nominated for the award: the Woolston Eyes footbridge at Thelwall Lane, which has been described as an extremely important example of Victorian civil engineering.

Brian Duguid, a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said today: “Woolston Eyes Footbridge is built of wrought-iron trestles on cast-iron cylinder supports, and it’s believed to be the oldest surviving unaltered cable-stayed bridge anywhere in England.

“Apart from being highly significant in civil engineering terms, this footbridge is also locally very important because it provides the only access to Woolston Eyes nature reserve. The reserve was built as part of major alterations to the River Mersey during the Manchester Ship Canal construction around 1896, and is an important asset for Warrington.”

Thomas Coon, a chartered civil engineer based in Warrington, said today: “When you look around, you see that Warrington is a showcase of classic civil engineering. For instance the Sankey Canal was arguably Britain’s first modern canal, while Latchford Locks made an indispensable contribution to the North West’s economy for many decades.”

Darrell Matthews, North West Regional Director of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “Last year’s North West Civil Engineering Awards were dominated by Warrington-based companies, which is an indicator of the town’s growing importance to the region. This year we’ve introduced our Heritage Award, and it’s great to see that local people have put forward local civil engineering landmarks, which shows pride in Warrington’s civil engineering heritage.

“Warrington’s bridges will be up against nominations from elsewhere in Cheshire and also Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and the Isle of Man.”

To qualify for a Heritage Award, the work of civil engineering – which could include any infrastructure relating to transport, energy, water and sewerage, waste management, flood defences or structures such as stadiums, piers, bridges or similar – had to be at least 70 years old.

Judging will take place in January and the winners will be announced during a special Awards Dinner, which this year will be held at the prestigious Halston Hotel in Carlisle, in the presence of Sir John Armitt, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers.


For further information please contact Spencer Fitz-Gibbon, ICE North West External Relations Executive, 07825 383880, spencer.fitz-gibbon@ice.org.uk.


Notes to editors


  1. The Institution of Civil Engineers already holds its Civil Engineering Awards every year, to recognise the skill and innovation that go into new civil engineering works and the benefits they bring to society – last year’s North West winners included a community hydro-power scheme in Oldham, a reservoir improvement in Burnley and a world-leading water-treatment works in Trafford.

  2. The Woolston Eyes Footbridge, credit Mott MacDonald.

  3. While any member of the public may make a nomination, nobody who has made a nomination will be involved in the judging process, and ICE employees and their close relatives are not eligible to make nominations. Any organisation which has an address in the region may make a nomination – whether it owns the nominated property in question or not – but ICE and its component parts (branches, committees etc) will not make nominations, although individual members may.

  4. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) was founded in 1818 to ensure professionalism in civil engineering. It represents 80,000 qualified and student civil engineers across the UK and around the globe. The ICE works with the government of the day to help it achieve its objectives, while working with industry to ensure construction and civil engineering remain major contributors to the UK domestic and export economies.

"This year weve introduced our Heritage Award, and its great to see that local people have put forward local civil engineering landmarks, which shows pride in local civil engineering heritage."
Darrell Matthews, ICE North West

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