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Toast to a Brewer

by glynch — last modified 30 Jun, 2016 05:17 PM

Legendary brewer and bridge builder celebrated in a flower planter designed by pupils

Bishop Edward dedicated a unique flower planter at a ceremony at Chapmanslade School this week.

The planter was designed by pupils at the school with the support of members of the community and is partly made of ironwork from the original Victoria Bridge in Bath, which was constructed in 1836 by James Dredge, who was born in Chapmanslade.

Tea, coffee and cakes were available in St Philip and St James’ church afterwards, where display boards describing James Dredge’s life and the history of Victoria Bridge were on show.

Bishop Edward said, “I was impressed by the children’s design and the planter certainly brightens up the area. It was great to see the community come together with the school”

The Revd Pauline Reid, Rural Dean of Heytesbury, said, “What a brilliant example of community, church and school working together. I feel very blessed to be part of such a committed and hardworking community.”

The Redwood Class at Chapmanslade C of E School designed the planter during this academic year. James Dredge (1794-1863), is honoured as a maltster, brewer and renowned bridge builder. The Dredge family has lived in the area for over two hundred and fifty years with descendants still living locally.

A grant from the Corsley Elizabethan Society to the school for a community project coincided with the availability of parts removed from the Victoria Bridge in Bath, which was recently refurbished during the redevelopment of the area. It was decided to make a flower planter from one of these parts, and the Chapmanslade History Group presented the James Dredge story to Redwood Class.

Their class teacher then worked with them to create design ideas which featured a beer barrel, beer mugs, bridge silhouette, ears of malting barley, and Dredge’s dates and initials. These ideas were turned into four working designs and the class chose the one they liked best. This project provided a rich source of learning involving history, design, technology and planting.

Victoria Bridge was the first bridge built by James Dredge in 1836 as a quick and easy way to get his beer across the River Avon to the Great Western Railway and the new industrial area. The central column of the planter is an original part of the bridge donated to the village following its refurbishment in 2014.

James built over fifty wrought iron suspension bridges to his patented design throughout Great Britain and the Commonwealth during the Victorian age of the Industrial Revolution.

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