Back in early 2009 we took on the restoration of the granite railway bridge at Wood Lane at the Mountsorrel end of the railway line. The bridge required sections of the parapet wall rebuilding and both road facing walls completely repointing. The distinct historical importance of the bridge made the restoration all the more difficult, with the need to reuse the original stones and to ensure that key stones all went back in exactly the right place.
The contractor quote for the work was just under £19,000, but our volunteers undertook the restoration ourselves, completing the work to a very high standard at a cost of only £120! This was made possible thanks to a donation from Mountsorrel Parish Council, Lafarge who supplied some of the materials, and several people who donated. The work took over 15 months to complete and many volunteers of all ages came from the community to help.
Last summer, vegetation clearance around the bridge at Bond Lane, at the end of the line, revealed the parapet walls to be in the same poor state of repair as the Wood Lane bridge we had just restored. It soon became clear we had another ambitious restoration on our hands! Our thanks go again to Mountsorrel Parish Council for sharing our desire to preserve Mountsorrel's heritage and making a further donation for the cost of tools. We are also grateful to Lafarge who have kindly agreed to provide the materials needed for the restoration.
Exploratory work started last October with help from Loughborough University students.
Work got underway properly in January with over 20 local volunteers descending on the bridge with hammers and chisels to remove the old mortar ready for repointing. Remarkably this extraordinary number of volunteers enabled the entire south side of the bridge to be chiselled out in only one day!
Our volunteer stonemason has already made a start on the repointing and the bridge is starting to return to its former glory.
Our next task is to take down the collapsing end wall, so that new foundations can be dug before the wall is rebuilt using the original stones.
This is an example of how community volunteers were able to come together with local industry and the council to preserve our heritage. The "Big Society" in action!
If you'd like to come and help with this work we have volunteer sessions each Tuesday and Saturday. Please get in touch with Steve Cramp for more details.
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The Mountsorrel Railway is part of the Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre. This website is no longer updated. For updates see: http://heritage-centre.co.uk/