Union Chain Bridge closure to allow National Lottery bid to move forward

View looking onto a historical pedestrian bridge

Published: Tuesday, 8th May 2018

A four week daytime closure of the Union Chain Bridge to allow a second round National Lottery funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to be progressed.

The bid will begin on Monday 14 May.

The principal inspection will see the iconic bridge shut to vehicles from 9am to 3.30pm on weekdays, with the road open at weekends.

Pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians will still be able to use the crossing during its closure.

Bridge conservation project

The inspection is required as part of a project to conserve the historic bridge, which is currently in a one year development phase. This is after initial support for National Lottery funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) was approved in March 2018, securing a £360,000 development grant.

This means the £7.3million project can be progressed further, ahead of a second round submission.

Scheme partnership

Along with ourselves, members of the scheme:

  • Northumberland County Council
  • Friends of the Union Chain Bridge
  • Woodhorn Charitable Trust

Benefits of the bridge project

Built by Captain Samuel Brown in 1820, the Union Chain Bridge is currently the oldest operational suspension bridge in the world still carrying vehicles. Through securing National Lottery support, it is anticipated that the bridge project can also deliver numerous cultural, heritage, educational and community benefits.

Spokesperson for the partners of the Union Chain Bridge project

“We were delighted to pass the first round HLF stage, with our bid focussing on on conserving and raising awareness of the internationally significant bridge, which celebrates its 200th birthday in 2020.

“Our project also aims to raise the profile of nearby attractions, providing learning opportunities for young people inspired by the bridge’s innovative engineering, and developing meaningful cross-border heritage projects and partnerships.

“This includes using the bridge and its conservation to develop educational resources and case study materials for the teaching of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects from primary schools up to postgraduate level.

“This would aim to inspire a new generation to choose careers in science and engineering and to follow in the footsteps of Captain Samuel Brown.

“We are now working hard on our second round submission, which this closure is a vital part of.

“While we realise it will have an impact on local people, efforts have been made to minimise the disruption as much as possible, with walkers, cyclists and horse riders still able to use the crossing.”

Further information

The Union Chain Bridge has been nominated for inclusion on Historic England’s 100 Places list.

Images can be downloaded at our Flickr page.

Drone footage of the Union Chain Bridge is available on NCC’s YouTube channel.

You can pledge your support for the Union Chain Bridge.

The previous project cost of £7.8m has been re-evaluated and now stands at £7.3m.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife - www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery #HLFsupported.

*Heritage Grants (HG) applications are assessed in two rounds. The Union Chain Bridge project has initially been granted round one development funding of £360,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans.  Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £3,140,000.