Critical conservation work to help preserve Blenheim Palace’s iconic Grand Bridge will be able to proceed thanks to a £547,200 grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. As well as securing the bridge for future generations, the work will provide a fascinating insight to the bridge’s history.
Early investigations have already revealed paved sections, older cobbled areas and various graffiti bearing testimony to some of the early craftsmen who worked on the bridge.
The current work is being carried out to restore and repair the waterproof deck of the 18th century bridge in order to prevent on-going damage to the underlying structure. It will allow replacement of the deck of the iconic bridge, essential drainage works, roadway repairs, and installation of a waterproof membrane to prevent water percolating through the stonework. There are also plans to provide a footpath which will allow pedestrians to cross the bridge in safety away from passing traffic.
Blenheim are working very closely with ecologists and bat specialists to ensure that they stay happy and safe during this and any future restoration work.
Progress so far: Old stone has been removed and is awaiting the new stone to be fitted, the bits of timber are supports for the stone above while the old stone has been removed. The terracotta layer on view either side of the bridge was originally used to prevent water seeping in to the bridge, this then had a layer of clay on top. Below the partially removed tarmac you can see the original pebbled road surface in places, and we’ve discovered the bridge had a set of gates across the gap.
In February, pedestrians and vehicles access to the Grand Bridge will be blocked off. This means that any visitors will not be able to walk over the bridge from either side.
From Monday 8th February for approx. 3 weeks: no vehicle access
From Monday 15th February for approx. 2 weeks: no vehicle OR pedestrian access
More information on the current conservation project can be found here: