The first footbridge on this site was built in 1590 and was paid for by voluntary contributions.
The bridge was apparently a wooden structure of seven arches carried on six large stone piers. In 1618 the Corporation adopted the bridge and undertook to keep it in good repair on account of its frequent use by people visiting the town’s market. Extensive repairs were carried out in 1812 and in 1827 the passage was widened, at the request of the Avon Navigation Company, by the removal of one stone pier to allow barges to pass under the bridge.
Finally, in 1934 the rather handsome wooden bridge was replaced by an art deco design reinforced concrete bridge to match the art deco design of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre that opened in 1932. This once handsome art deco bridge — nearly 80 years old – is now crumbling and showing its age.
Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge was started in 2013 to bring together people who would like to see the existing bridge upgraded with a wider platform and ramps on either side to make access possible for prams, wheelchairs, elderly people unable to manage steps, and cyclists touring the local areas.
William Shakespeare (1564- 23rd April 1616) and his family must have used the original wooden bridge built in 1590, indeed they may have been original contributors although there is no evidence of this. If he was around today he would undoubtedly have supported the existing bridge upgrade.
The promotion for the benefit of the public of urban or rural regeneration in Stratford-upon-Avon and the surrounding area by all or any of the following means:
- the maintenance, improvement or provision of Public amenities.
- the preservation of buildings or sites of historic or architectural importance.
- the provision of recreational facilities for the public at large or those who by reason of their youth, age, disability, financial hardship or social and economic circumstances, have need of such facilities.
This charitable objective is written in a format for the Charities Commission, however the main objective is to raise funds for a new architects review to present to the Warwick District Council for them to take in to consideration during their next review of Lucy’s Mill Bridge access upgrades.
The Charity will initially focus on Lucy’s Mill Footbridge and will:
- lobby the local authorities responsible for the upkeep of the footbridge;
- commission and finance a feasibility study to establish whether a replacement bridge to current building regulations suitable for all users can be realistically built within the footprint of land currently owned by the relevant local authority; and
- if a replacement bridge is feasible, work alongside the local authorities to raise the necessary funds to construct the replacement bridge.
Original Fundraising Targets
The initial fundraising target is £15,000. This is the budget for an independent, professional architects review.
Funds will be raised by voluntary contributions from the Public, either at coffee mornings, or by direct donations to the Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge. Funds are also being sought from local businesses and the Stratford Town Council has also made a funding contribution.
Actions to date
Formation of Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge
A group of individuals came together to form the Friends of Lucy’s Mill Bridge (FOLMB) to establish the feasibility of upgrading or rebuilding the existing footbridge on, or close to, its current site within the footprint of land currently owned by the local authorities. The new bridge should be able to cater for all users and comply with the minimum standards set down in the Equality Act 2010.