Sunday, September 14, 2008

Heritage Open Day

As part of the Heritage Open Days in Lincolnshire we went along for a tour of Sutton Bridge as it can so often hold us up on route to wherever! It is a swing bridge across the River Nene just before it reaches estuary of The Wash and is used for tall mast ships and large tankers which often moor at the docks. The tour, which was really informative, although a little mind boggling with all the ins and outs of it's workings, was interesting and we got to go right up into the main room to witness the fews over the Fens towards Hunstanton, Kings Lynn and Wisbech. The bridge is now powered by oil but used to be powered by water so we were invited to visit the old water pumping station, part of which has now been turned into a domestic house! Being Grade II* listed, the old pumping station has been really well looked after. A lovely afternoon out, and what with the warmth of the sun finally beating down on us, a cardigan and raincoat free afternoon too!

The chaps in charge demonstrated a scaled down working replica of the swing bridge, made completely from Meccano (it took 18 months to build) to give us a close up view of how the bridge operates. At the end of the tour, the traffic was stopped in order for us to view the actually bridge opening, watching the various hydraulic jacks move into postion to support the bridge in opened and then closed positions, and see the cogs and wheels move the bridge round.

This evening, Ben made his own swinging Sutton Bridge from Lego, and later a large floating barge to complete the scene.

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