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Restoration work at Beningbrough Hall
8:32am Wednesday 15th August 2012 in News
James Holmes looks at the underside of the bridge at Beningbrough Hall, which is currently being restored
WORK is under way to restore a crumbling bridge at a top North Yorkshire tourist attraction.
The south bridge at Beningbrough Hall was in danger of collapsing, after gradually sinking over 300 years.
Contractors began work on the bridge, which will be rebuilt over the next 12 weeks, on Monday morning.
Jo Parker, events and marketing co-ordinator for the National Trust attraction, said: “Since the house was built in 1716, the south bridge has been sinking. Historically, the bridge is the place where ladies would walk out in their grand frocks.
“However, it has now come to the point where it is quite unstable because of the weather and frost damage.
“The work started this week, with the demolition of the top four steps. We are using 800 reclaimed bricks, and any new ones are coming from the York Handmade Brick Company.”
Cecily Spall, a building archaeologist with field archaeology specialists FAS Heritage, is taking a photographic record of the rebuild, to help understand how the bridge was built in the 18th century.
She said: “This is an exciting project to be involved with. We did some tests before the restoration began, so the architect could inspect the foundations of the house.
“We want to understand how it was put together in the first place, so I am taking photos and these will go to the archive at the National Trust.”
Construction is taking place behind a fence, although visitors can watch the restoration take place.
Ms Parker said: “The fence is up for safety reasons, but in such a way that people who are interested can see in. People have these problems in their own homes, and a baroque mansion is no different.”
Work is being carried out by contractor William Anelay, and is expected to be completed in October.
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