FRIENDS OF NEWPORT TRANSPORTER BRIDGE (FONTB)
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Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge (FONTB)
The Transporter Bridge is closed for the winter but is expected to reopen at Easter 2015
The volunteer-run Visitor Centre is generally open every day.
Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge (FONTB) is a registered Charity founded in 1998 and dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the Bridge. .
Our activities include running the Visitor Centre, publishing a regular Newsletter for members, organising visits to the Bridge for clubs, schools and other groups and giving presentations about the Bridge. We work in partnership with other charities during their fundraising events at the Bridge and also maintain an archive and this website.
To our President Rosemary Butler AM who has been created a Dame of the British Empire, also to Barbara Bennett, Anne Gatehouse and Win Lewis who were elected Vice Presidents of the Friends in recognition of their services over the years.
Annual General Meeting
The 16th Annual General Meeting will be held on Friday 21st November at 7.30pm in Room 7 at Newport Civic Centre
We were grateful to our Treasurer Bob Richards for organising through the Office for National Statistics for volunteers from MITIE to repaint the Visitor Centre. It is now much lighter and brighter.
Because of illness we are short of volunteers at the Visitor Centre, If anyone can spare half a day a week, please contact our Chairman, David Hando by email or on 07802 487042
Our next Fun Day will be on the Sunday September 28th and have an Edwardian theme. This will also be the last day of operation of the Bridge this year.
We are planning to publish a calendar made up of photographs of the Bridge at different times of the year. Please email any photographs you would like to be considered to our Journal Editor Tony Dart.
The Transporter Bridge has been awarded a Certificate of Excellent from TripAdvisor after receiving top ratings from visitors.
We are hoping to get start billing on the Newport version of the popular board game planned for a launch to catch the Christmas trade. Over 7000 people voted fot the Bridge to be included on the board. Dan Taylor, the development director of Winning Moves UK, who produce Monopoly on licence from the the owners Hasbro, climbed the Bridge and marvelled at the views.
Older NewsHeritage Bid
Representatives of the three British Transporter Bridges held a second meeting with Rolf Hoehmann of the Bureau of Industrial Archaeology to progress an international, serial application to UNESCO for World Heritage Status for the world’s surviving Transporter Bridges.
Of the eighteen Transporter Bridges built between 1893 and 1916 eight remain. They are Rochford in France, Osten and Rendesburg in Germany, Buenos Aires in Argentina and the three British Bridges, Newport, Middlesbrough and Warrington. Bilbao in Spain already has Heritage Status.
This second meeting, held at the Bridge Visitor Centre at Middlesbrough, was a follow up to the Celtic Manor conference held this time last year. Newport was represented by the Chairman of the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge, Councillor David Hando and Mike Lewis of the Newport Museum Service. The British bridges handed over bid material to Rolf, whose next visit is to Buenos Aires.
Rolf gave an up date on developments at the French, German and Argentinian bridges. He said that, although there was a long waiting list for Heritage Status, European medieval churches and castles were over represented. That gave an advantage to an international, serial application involving 20th century industrial archaeology. Nevertheless it would be a long process.
Meetings would be arranged in September with Cadw at Newport and English Heritage at Middlesborough.
Pctured below at the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge are (l to r) Mike Lewis, Rolf Hoehmann and David Hando
We are sorry to have to announce the death of founder member, former Chairman and Life Vice-President Sidney Robinson on 19 January at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. Trustee Anne Gatehouse writes:
Sidney was born in Newport on 28th November 1914. He spent his working life in the shipping industry in Newport and Bristol. He had an amazing capacity for facts and his memory was phenomenal. He could walk into a building in Newport and tell you the history of it.
He was a founder member of FONTB and served as Vice Chairman and three years as Chairman, seeing us through the Centenary year of our Bridge. He supported all our events, on the Open Days still going ‘over the top’ into his nineties, he also helped me with many of the talks and was always ready with answers and information for the audience. He was so thrilled to receive a certificate for his chairmanship and later, when we made him a Vice President, he received another one. Both certificates had pride of place on the wall of his flat in Penarth which he kept immaculate.
Whatever I asked him for with regards to Newport and the Transporter Bridge, their history and heritage he always had the answer. Some times producing long explanations either written or typed, nothing was too much for him and his wealth of knowledge was amazing. I was so pleased that I set up a meeting, in my home, between Sidney and Professor Alan Jones, which resulted in the book ‘The River Usk’.
Sidney had many other interests in Newport, Penarth and Cardiff and belonged to many organisations. The main ones being The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, Newport Civic Society, Both Penarth and Cardiff History Societies and the Victorian Society. He always travelled by public transport sometimes not arriving home until midnight. Sidney nursed his wife for many years and when she passed away a few years ago he was proud to take her to Christchurch Cemetery via The Newport Transporter Bridge
I am proud to have known him and call him my Friend.
The Penarth Times carried an obituary on 30 January .
Sidney’s funeral took place on Wednesday 8 February and many of the Committee and some other members gathered at the Bridge to witness his last journey on the gondola, pictured below.
© FONTB (Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge) - Registered Charity No. 1102925