Lodgemore Swing Bridge — Makers plate restored
The shattered cast iron nameplate that once identified Lodgemore Swing Bridge as a product of T.H.J. Daniels Ltd. has been repaired by local engineers Ryeford Engineering.
Stroud District Council’s Canal Restoration Project Manager Dave Marshall is pictured below with Arthur Keenan (left) and Nick Rieger (right).
The pair gained their skills whilst serving apprenticeships with T.H.J. Daniels Ltd. in the 1970’s.
Apprenticeship schemes — Long-term value
Nick Rieger, who now owns Ryeford Engineering at Cainscross, served his Daniels apprenticeship between 1970 and 1975. Arthur Keenan developed his high-level welding and machining skills on the same apprenticeship scheme between 1974 & 79. Arthur now applies those skills to his work at Ryeford Engineering.
The photograph below shows Lodgemore bridge back in February 2015 before work began on installing the new lift bridge.
Decades of frost, stress and vibration
Click here, or on the image above, for a close-up of the maker’s nameplate once proudly affixed to the bridge that for generations served the woollen mill now known as Winterbotham, Strachan and Playne.
The fractures to the plate indicate many decades of frost, stress and vibration caused by heavy traffic passing over the bridge.
Stroud has for many years been a centre of engineering excellence. ‘Stroudies’ have oft been heard to profess proudly… ‘We do make stuff in Stroud!’
A similarly skilled team of engineers from Nottingham based ECS Engineering fabricated the new lift bridge.
ECS’s installation team leader Ian Barfoot ensured that the shattered nameplate was carefully recovered from the long since demobilised swing bridge.
Ian handed the plate, in many parts, to the Cotswold Canals Trust.
CCT member John Ferris, on hearing of this valuable act of salvage, suggested the nameplate could be restored by his friend Arthur Keenan.
The picture below illustrates John’s challenge to Arthur.
Welding cast iron — a very special skill
Nick Rieger, knowing the history of the nameplate, was only too pleased to support Arthur in his re-assembly and welding endeavours.
Nick commented… “I asked Arthur to get the job done in works time. Welding cast iron is a very special skill and I knew Arthur could do it if anyone could. I also know he stayed on well after hours to get it finished to such a high standard.”
Arthur Keenan added. “It has been a pleasure to do, and well worth the effort and if you like, it shows the value of experience and skills gained through an apprenticeship with one of the best engineering firms in the Stroud Valleys.”
The repaired cast iron nameplate now occupies pride of place on display inside the Cotswold Canals Trust Visitor Centre at Wallbridge Upper Lock.
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