Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust worked in partnership with Great Yarmouth Borough Council to deliver the repair and renovation of Vauxhall Bridge, an important physical connection to the town’s diverse transport heritage. Built in the mid-19th century, the bridge served as a key gateway between town and country, and carried horse, train, tram, car and foot passengers over its lifetime. In 1976 the railway line from the station to North and South Quays was closed but people could still drive over until 1988, when it was closed to vehicles.
The bridge is Grade II listed, on account of it being a rare survival of a wrought-iron railway bridge with significant early steel strengthening.
To learn more about the bridge’s history, click here.
The bridge’s restoration was divided into two phases, the first of which was completed in 2013.
Phase 1 of the project was supported by: Community Connections with a Fairshare grant; the Garfield Weston Foundation; Great Yarmouth Borough Council; Norfolk County Council; Railway Heritage Trust Railway Paths; Asda; Abellio Greater Anglia Ltd. Vauxhall Links also played a central role in the project, having campaigned for many years for the bridge’s restoration, under the leadership of Miriam Kikis.
The Phase 1 restoration work was carried out by the Moreton Partnership, a firm of conservation structural engineers. Repairs to the metal work on the eastern span were undertaken, a new cycle and footbridge were installed, old lead paint was blasted off and disposed of and the bridge was repainted in a traditional red.
Since 2013, the public have been able to use the new route, which connects Great Yarmouth Station to North Quay. Designed for pedestrians and cyclists, the path follows the Angles Way, one of the popular Norfolk Trails, across the River Bure.
Phase 2 of the project will restore the western span of the bridge. Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust is working with partners to seek funding from external bodies to accomplish this.
Vauxhall Links is a community group which works to engage local people with the history of Vauxhall Bridge and other elements of Great Yarmouth’s transport heritage. The group was successful in an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for an ‘All Our Stories’ grant to deliver an exciting community based project celebrating the history of the town’s transport heritage and exploring the important role that bridges, waterways, railways and tramways have played in the town’s development.
Matthew Harrison led the delivery of this project and worked in in collaboration with Great Yarmouth Community Library and Time and Tide Museum to record local people’s memories of the town’s transport history for future posterity. One of the stories recorded was told by Maurice Nudd, who recounted how he was due to start his first day of work at Yarmouth Southtown station on February 1st 1953, the morning after the night of the infamous 1953 floods. Vauxhall Station was not as severely affected as the surrounding area, so he began work there instead.
The project engaged the local community through a series of creative initiatives. A 200ft mural was created to celebrate Great Yarmouth’s transport heritage, designed as an illustrated timeline and inspired by vintage railway posters. A photography competition was set up to encourage local people to document the bridge and surrounding area, with the photographs exhibited in October 2013. A group of local youth were also engaged as part of an project to tell the story of the bridge through animation. The finished product – “Carry on Bridge” – can be watched below.