Gatehouse and Christine Jones
The Red Dragon is flying at half mast on the gondola
of the Transporter Bridge out of respect for two stalwart
members of the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge, who
have passed away ~ Anne Gatehouse and Christine Jones.
Anne Gatehouse was a founder member when the Friends were
formed in 1998 and served as Secretary, Treasurer and
Chairman over the years. She must have given hundreds of
talks publicising the Transporter Bridge throughout South
Wales, which were always very well received. When she
resigned from the committee she was elected a Vice
President. Recently she has concentrated her considerable
energies on the Jerome Gatehouse Collection, a remarkable
military band archive assembled by her late husband. She
lived in Shaftesbury but has recently been in the Royal
Gwent Hospital and St Anne's Hospice.
Christine Jones, of Marshfield, succeeded Anne as the talks
organiser and very quickly mastered her subject. With the
help of her husband, Paul, she travelled far and wide
publicising the Bridge.
David Hando BEM, Chairman of the Friends, said that both of
these ladies will be sadly missed. "Anne and I were founder
members together in 1989 and she persuaded me to join the
committee and take over from her as Chairman. Apart from our
magnificent Bridge, we also shared a passion for Newport
County AFC. Christine took over as talks organiser and was
soon doing a splendid job. She continued with her talks even
though she was becoming increasingly unwell. The Friends
will miss them both very much."
Transporter Bridge earns Tripadvisor 2016 Certificate of
We are delighted to hear that the Bridge has
received a TripAdvisor®
Certificate of Excellence for the second year running.
2015 Annual General Meeting
The Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge held their
Annual General Meeting at St Joseph's High School, by kind
permission of the Head Teacher and Governors of the School.
Guests of Honour were Paul Flynn MP and his wife Samantha.
Mr Flynn was warm in his praise both of the magnificent,
almost unique, Bridge, and of the Friends for promoting it.
"The people of Newport are rightly proud of the splendid
structure so important in the industrial, economic and
social history of the city. No effort should be spared in
retaining, preserving and promoting it."
The former Chairman, Nick Mutch, regretted that pressure of
business had forced him to resign. "I would like to thank
you all for welcoming me into the organisation and I wish
you every success in the future with what is an important
The Treasurer, Bob Richards presented very healthy accounts
and Chris Barton was thanked for examining the Accounts.
Officers elected ~ Chairman: David Hando, Treasurer: Bob
Richards, Assistant Treasurer: Linda Davies, Membership
Secretary: Gerald Black, Minute Secretary: Yangi Vundamina,
Talks: Christine Chapman, Press Officer: Will Davies,
Committee: Dave Bassett, Ann Bishop, Jo Evans-Pring, Trefor
Giddings, Terry Mercy, Dilys Rosen.
The new Chairman, David Hando BEM, resuming the position
after a years' break, as required by the constitution,
thanked retiring members of the committee Nick Mutch, Carrie
Bird, Maureen Hendon and Rob Reese. He was delighted that
Maureen and Rob are continuing as volunteers at the Visitor
Centre. "We are always looking for volunteers who can spare
half a day a week to help greet people at the Visitor
Centre". He was sorry that the Friends are unable to proceed
with their ambitious plans to extend the Visitor Centre
because the Council fear that all grant funding will be
required for the upkeep of the Bridge. However, Mike Lewis,
the Council Museum and Heritage Officer assured the Friends
that an extended Visitor Centre will feature in the
Council's long term plans so that the work and money spent
by the Friends on the project will not be wasted.
Mr Hando said the Friends were delighted to resume contact
with their Honorary Life Vice President, Hayley Mills, whose
association with the Bridge dates from the film
"Tiger Bay". Hayley got on the Bridge in Newport, and,
through the magic of Hollywood, got off it in Cardiff! She
has moved from her apartment in New York and returned to
London. Mr Hando had spotted that she was the Fairy God
Mother in the pantomime at the Richmond Theatre and sent her
a Transporter Bridge calendar. She replied "Thank you so
much for your letter and the lovely 2016 calendar of the
dear old Transporter Bridge, much appreciated."
Jo and Dave of Fanny's Café were thanked for supplying and
donating the sumptuous buffet.
Fun Day Sunday 27th
This was the last day the Bridge
was open this year. Our Funday had an Edwardian theme and
featured the Full
Moon Morris Dancers
is a Video of them performing
Cardiff Boys Brigade 8
On Wednesday 8th July, FONTB were invited to an awards
evening arranged by the 16th Cardiff Boys’ Brigade at The
Church Of The Resurrection at St Mellons, Cardiff. Mo Hendon
and Rob Reese attended representing FONTB. The 16th had made
FONTB their chosen local charity for 2014-15. The Brigade’s
charity choice alternates annually between an international
and UK cause. Money was raised by a sponsored walk starting
from Cardiff Castle to Forest Farm and Castle Coch by the
following brigade members :-
Anchors (school year 1-3)
Juniors (school year 4-6)
Company (school years 7-11)
Seniors (aged 15-18) and officers
The rest of the money was raised from a free-will offering
at the Annual Enrolment Service and from a Lent Collection
when the younger members were given Smartie tubes. They
could eat the Smarties and then they had to fill the empty
tube with their pocket money!.
We were delighted to be presented with a cheque for the
fantastic amount of £400 by Alex Rees - Williams from the
Juniors! A wonderful effort from all the boys.
We are looking to produce a
calendar for 2016 and would like to encourage supporters to
submit pictures of the bridge across the seasons for
consideration. Pictures should be submitted by 31st
August 2015 and be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with
the words "FONTB Calendar" in the title.
Message from the Chairman
exception of closing the AGM, this is my first official
action as FONTB Chairman. Hopefully you will all, ‘Give me just a little more time’ to settle into the role.(Anyone
get the musical reference?)
Chairman after less than a year with FONTB does seem a
little premature, even to me, but I hope that my years of
involvement with Round Table in Abergavenny and Newport and
as South Wales Area Chairman will help with fund raising,
publicity and the other works of this voluntary
organisation.I do not have a history in engineering, or am
otherwise active in local history, but I am an almost
lifelong resident of Newport and as such want Newport to do
well and prosper. The symbol of our successful past is the
Transporter Bridge and I’d like it to be a symbol of our
successful future as well.
In my first
year with FONTB I aimed to try to improve the Visitor Centre
as it currently stands, and this is an ongoing process, and
I do look forward to the proposals of expanding and
extending the Visitor Centre. These are very early days of
that process and when the plans are more firmly developed we
will make them available for any feedback.
As we are
still in a period of economic uncertainty, we have to accept
that running the Bridge is a luxury for the Council and I
call upon all members to be as active as they can be with
our role of supporting the Bridge, and it’s activities, to
attract as many visitors as possible.
In this run
up to Christmas, I would like to encourage you all to attend
the first, ‘Carols on the Bridge’ on Sunday 14th
December between 2 and 4pm. There will be music and singing
from the Gwent Music Support Group and refreshments will be
available to buy (we need the funds).
As we start
this next year of FONTB, let me look backwards one last time
and thank everyone on the Committee for making me so welcome
since I joined. I’d particularly like to thank David who, as
now immediate past Chairman, has given me a very hard act to
follow and Treasurer Bob Richards for inviting me to join.
Also I’d like to thank all the volunteers who run the
Visitor Centre, arrange and give the talks and organise the
Fun Days as well as those who keep the FONTB wheels turning.
volunteers and members, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy
and successful New Year.
Carols on the Bridge
Youngsters from the Gwent Music Support Group provided the music
for an afternoon of carol singing on the Bridge on Sunday
December 14th. Our Secretary David Hando said "It's been a wet,
cold and miserable day with the weather but despite that the
group have been merrily playing and everybody has been joining
in. It's just to publicise the bridge and the wonderful, iconic
architectural structure we are so lucky to have here".
Newport councillor Noel Trigg and Newport West MP Paul Flynn
were amongst the visitors. Fanny's Rest stop cafe, just across
the road from the Bridge, provided hot drinks throughout the
afternoon and money from a collection taken will go towards the
Gwent Music Support Group.
Annual General Meeting
The 16th Annual General Meeting was held on Friday 21st
November at 7.30pm in Room 7 at Newport Civic Centre. Nick
Mutch was elected Chairman and David Hando Secretary. Three
new Trustees were also elected.
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.
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
Because of illness we are short of volunteers at the Visitor
Centre, If anyone can spare half a day a week, please
contact David Hando by email
or on 07802
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
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.
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
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
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.
FONTB & Newport Civic Society
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.