20 September 2001
CAMPBELL HANDS OVER ORIGINAL ALBERT BRIDGE DRAWINGS
A series of original construction drawings of the 19th Century Albert Bridge were handed over to the Public Record Office for safekeeping by the Regional Development Minister, Gregory Campbell, today.
The impressive leather-bound collection of drawings have been used by DRD Roads Service to assist them with a major refurbishment scheme on the Albert Bridge, which is a listed structure.
Mr Campbell said: "I am pleased to hand over these exquisite drawings to the Public Records Office, where they can be viewed by the general public. The sketches, which date back to 1888, have proved to be of great assistance to Roads Service as they complete this important scheme on the Albert Bridge.
"It is only fitting that any work carried out on one of Belfast’s busiest routes, should not deflect from the original style of this ornate bridge which is considered to be one of the finest cast iron bridges in these islands."
In 1886, the first bridge ever built on the Albert Bridge site collapsed, causing one fatality. A temporary wooden bridge was erected until the present day bridge was erected.
Designed by Mr J. C. Bretland, the Borough Surveyor at the time, the Bridge was constructed by Messrs Henry of Belfast on behalf of Belfast Corporation, at a cost of only £36,500. It was opened in 1890 and named after Queen Victoria’s grandson, Prince Albert Victor, who laid a foundation stone in 1889.
The third and final phase of a scheme to refurbish the Albert Bridge is expected to be completed in the Autumn. The total cost of the works is approximately £1 million.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The original drawings had been passed to Roads Service from Belfast Corporation at the time of Local Government reorganisation in 1973. The drawings have been used for information relating to any works connected with the bridge.
- >The first phase of work on the bridge was carried out in 1998 and involved replacing, strengthening and waterproofing the concrete bridge deck.
- >The second phase was to replace corroded wrought iron structural members supporting the bridge deck with new structural steel members.
- >The final phase involves the complete removal of existing paint and rust and the application of a new paint system for corrosion protection, which should ensure no repainting, will be necessary for the next 15 years. Floodlighting, funded by Laganside, is also being installed.
- >The original Albert Bridge drawings (dated 1888) were handed over to Dr Gerry Slater, Chief Executive of the Public Record Office.