We must admit that we've been a little quiet of late - but that's because so much has been going on! At the start of the month we moved into our new building and we've been working hard inside ever since to get it ready for you all. We've organised tours for our volunteers to give everyone a chance to get familiar with the space and have been talking to Alec French and Rydons about all the little details which will help to make your visit extra enjoyable! We've even had our first event: the Volunteer's end of season meeting.
Earlier this year we went to London to meet the educational team at Tower Bridge and find out about their plans for education and interpretation. We saw a fantastic new video that they'd made to explain the history of their bridge and were awed by some fantastic technical drawings which showed the bridge as a whole object and explained how it worked. What a great idea!
On Saturday 20th September, almost 150 years to the day since the bridge was inspected by Dr. Livingstone and other members of the newly formed British Association for the Advancement of Science, we welcomed the IsamBards (Pameli Benham, Stewart Carswell, David Johnson and Deborah Harvey) to the bridge for two very special Poetry Tours. A new way to experience the bridge, these tours began with a bit of history on the Clifton Down viewpoint and ended with a reading in the Visitor Centre.
Last week we went to see the first part of our new exhibition which is under construction at CodSteaks HQ. This piece is destined to become our very own Avon Gorge, where we'll talk about the mythology, geology and rare species of the Gorge, providing information about some of the geologists and botanists who came here and were the first to discover some of its rare species. You'll be able to take a closer look at the Lower Carboniferous limestone rock which forms the Gorge and find out all about the giants Goram and Ghyston too!
UWE student Kitila Katala is with us for eight weeks working as a Physics and Engineering Intern. Kitila studies Civil and Environmental Engineering and is using his specialist knowledge to help us to develop a resource pack on bridges and how they work for KS3 (secondary) pupils. Yesterday we tested a bridge which Kitila had constructed from 4 copies of the Bristol Post. We thought it might be strong enough to support 6 cans of pop - but it actually ended up holding an incredible 29.163KG! On September 22nd, we'll be hosting a newspaper bridge building challenge at At-Bristol.
This week Force One bought their amazing suction truck to the bridge to hoover all of the rubble out of the lower chamber of the Leigh Woods abutment and allow them to be inspected thoroughly. The rubble is thought to be backfill, left by the builders of the abutments before they were completed and sealed in 1845. All the rubble removed from the vaults has been sifted for finds - but we have to thank James for his efforts in digging out the east shaft (that's under a manhole on the side of the abutment which looks toward Sea Walls).
Today we met with Olly Rigby, a local author creating a new book about the formation of the Avon Gorge by giants Goram and Ghyston. Olly has comissioned some wonderful illustrations which we're hoping to include in our new exhibition, next to a giant's chair for visitors to sit on!
Our exhibition design team at Cod Steaks are hoping to recreate the rock formations of the gorge with a bridge above so as you read the story, you will actually feel as though you are a giant in the gorge!
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