Two Year Six classes from Woodley Primary School visited Brabyns Park and the Peak Forest Canal in Marple recently in order to study the River Goyt and also to see the early stages of the restoration project of the iron bridge (built in 1813) on the edge of Brabyns Park.
The one day trip was partly funded by ‘The Mersey Basin Campaign’ which promotes activities and the scenery of the River Mersey. Woodley Primary is one of only two schools in the country that is linked with the improvement of this highly significant bridge which dates back to the start of the industrial revolution.
Whilst the Woodley pupils were at the site, they were given a special talk by the restoration project manager, Tim Boylan, and the heads of the fund-raising team, Peter Clarke and Mark Whittaker. In addition, Richard Booker, a Parks and Gardens Redevelopment Officer from Stockport Council, and Pat Flanagan, who represented Stockport LEA and the Construction Industry Training Board, were present.
After the talk and a question and answer session with Peter Clarke, who also doubles as a local historian, the children were shown the work in progress which included the recently removed bailey bridge which had supported the iron bridge for sixteen years . In addition, they could hear the sound of the grit-blasting which was cleaning the ironwork prior to repainting.
The event was filmed by ‘Fusion Films’, a company that is producing a film of the whole project on behalf of Stockport Council. The film will be shown in museums around the town and will be available on the internet.
Comments from Year Six Pupils:
- I was jealous when I heard how wealthy Nathaniel Wright (the owner of Brabyns Hall) was. The bridge was just to how off. I think it was a good idea to restore it. (Aidan)
- I found it interesting because Peter Clarke talked to us about how the bridge was built. I found out that it was built in 1813 and that when it has been refurbished it will not need refurbishing for 200 years. (Shauna)
- I didn’t know that bridges could be made of iron before we went to Marple, so it was very interesting. (Mia)
- I never knew that the cast iron bridge in Brabyns Park was there. I’m very pleased with Peter Clarke doing lots of things for Marple. I wish there were more people like him. (Jacob)
- I found out that if you had a bridge in those days, it was like having a Porsche in these days. (Rihaan)
- I think Nathaniel Wright was trying to show off and the bridge told me about him. I found it interesting how the park got passed through the generations like a family item. (David)