Whilst the weather did its best to impersonate an autumnal storm, I had the warmest of welcomes in North Wales on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone for the Menai Suspension Bridge.
One cannot help but be struck by the impact that this magnificent structure continues to have. Towering 100 feet above the fast flowing waters of the Menai Strait Telford’s bridge stands as a magnificent testimony to the vision of a cadre of 19th Century engineers who quite literally changed Britain.
The anniversary celebrations kicked off with the launch of Bob Daimond’s book – Menai Bridge: The First 200 Years. Bob’s passion for the bridge and for the works of Telford is infectious, his knowledge encyclopaedic and his ability to impart both to those around him marks him out as a truly outstanding engineer in his own right.
No worry that the weather wasn’t at its best, the celebrations organised by the Menai Bridge Community Heritage Trust in partnership with the CIHT and ICE were a fitting tribute to a structure that is so clearly beloved by its community. Everyone I met had a connection or a story to tell about the bridge, each time told with loving pride.
In between the re-enactments and conversations Jean Baker – one of the trustees providing the group with its leadership – outlined the potential for the Trust to see Prince’s Pier become a centre for celebrating the connection between the town and its bridge: a potential that I hope is realised sooner rather than later.
To all those involved in laying on the celebrations – congratulations and a personal thank you to Kerry Evans who ensured that my visit went like clockwork.
Here is yet another example of how vision and ability to shape tomorrow today brings about a legacy that lasts through generations.