Bridgnorth Footbridge Trust
Events prior to the establishment of the Bridgnorth Footbridge Trust
Following the closure of the Severn Valley Branch in 1963, the condition of the footbridge deteriorated and by 1967 owners Bridgnorth Rural Borough Council had announced plans for its demolition. In January 1969 SVRSevern Valley Railway News reported that a public “Save the Footbridge” appeal had been launched and that Sir Alfred Owen, Managing Director of the Rubery Owen organisation who built the original footbridge, had visited Bridgnorth. The ‘Footbridge Appeal Fund’ was organised by Bridgnorth member Roger Sellick and was independent of the SVRSevern Valley Railway Company. £1,500 had been raised by early 1971.
The footbridge was closed to the public in 1970, the same year in which the SVRSevern Valley Railway opened in preservation. As part of an agreement in December 1973 between the SVRSevern Valley Railway Company and Rubery Owen (under which they become shareholders in the SVR), the SVRSevern Valley Railway acquired the Hollybush Road Footbridge from Bridgnorth Council for a nominal sum of £1, and the 1984 budget included a capital project for the reconstruction of the bridge.
Following the demolition of the bridge in 1976, interest appears to have waned. However in 1982 Bill Hinkley happened on the copies of SVRSevern Valley Railway News reporting on the old bridge and the attempts to save it and began to canvas opinions on building a new bridge. By 1985 a committee had been formed and over the next three years designs were drawn up and planning permission obtained.
The Bridgnorth Footbridge Trust
The Trust was formed in the late 1980s and was granted charitable status on 1 June 1989 as Charity number 701636. On 30 March 1990 the Trust’s president, Sir William McAlpine, launched the Bridgnorth Footbridge Appeal seeking to raise £275,000 towards the cost of constructing a new footbridge.
By the Fund’s 4th AGM in September 1992, fund raising was still continuing in spite of the economic recession at the time. A by-product of the recession was that the cost was thought to be around £100,000 less than before.
In September 1993, the Fund had raised just over £70,000 of the £95,000 then estimated to be needed, a grant of up to £90,800 having been pledged by the European Regional Development Fund subject to a deadline of 31 December in that year. Contracts for construction were signed on 24 December 1993, and the bridge eventually opened on 15 July 1994 having been completed at a cost £150,000.
The Fund was removed from the Charity Commission register on 27 February 1998 when it ceased to exist.
- Marshall (1989) p. 105.
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 11, “The Station Footbridge”
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 19, “Matters of Moment”, R.H Dunn
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 31, ‘Boardroom Notes’
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 112, “The Bridgnorth Footbridge Saga”, Bill Hinckley
- Charity Commission website (retrieved 22 March 2018)
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 96
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 104
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 108/109
- SVRSevern Valley Railway News 113