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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Preserving history and tightening security

Jacksons Fencing Helps Restore Rewley Road Swing Bridge in Oxford to Former Glory

The Rewley Road Swing Bridge, an integral part of Oxford's industrial history, underwent a remarkable transformation in 2023 from rusting to restoration.

Through a collaborative effort between the Oxford Preservation Trust, the Railway Heritage Trust, Historic England, and input on security solutions from Jacksons Fencing, this iconic landmark was meticulously restored and safeguarded for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

A journey through time

Dating back to 1851, the Rewley Road Swing Bridge played a pivotal role in the movement of goods and people during the 19th century in Oxford. However, changng times lead to its disuse and subsequent state of disrepair. By the 1980s, the bridge stood permanently fixed in an open position.

Recognising the historical and cultural significance of the bridge, the Oxford Preservation Trust embarked on a restoration journey to bring this historical treasure back to life. Jacksons Fencing was specified by the Railway Heritage Trust and Historic England to provide demarcation fencing around the landmark, playing a vital role in ensuring the successful establishment of the bridge as a visitor attraction.

Modern security meets historical elegance

To ensure the safety of visitors and protect the bridge from potential vandalism, Jacksons Fencing provided a thoughtful protection plan that seamlessly integrated modern security features with the bridge’s historical aesthetic.

In the pursuit of safeguarding the Rewley Road Swing Bridge, Jacksons Fencing introduced a total of 57 metres of 1.25m high Barbican Imperial® fencing which seamlessly harmonised security with the bridge's historical charm. The fencing's unique vertical bar design not only exudes visual elegance but also serves as a robust barrier against unauthorised access. This fence choice is ideal for a heritage project as it offers the look of traditional metal railings but with a modern, stronger, and more sustainable tubular design.

Concealed connectors and the absence of visible bolts or fixings further amplify the fencing's security prowess while maintaining a clean and uncluttered appearance. As an integral part of the protection strategy, a 3.6m wide double leaf gate was integrated, complete with a padlockable slide latch. This innovative latch ensures controlled access, reinforcing security without compromising convenience.

The specification of high quality materials was paramount for this project. The selected Barbican Imperial fencing was meticulously crafted from high-quality hot dip galvanised steel, equipping it with exceptional strength and resistance against the corrosive forces of time. To ensure the bridge's appearance would not wither, a black polyester powder coating was applied.

This not only adds a touch of timeless sophistication but also guarantees durability and a long-lasting finish. By embracing modern techniques, the bridge's protective features are seamlessly integrated into its historic context, allowing it to confidently stand the test of time.

A safe haven for local wildlife

Jacksons Fencing's commitment extended beyond human safety to encompass the thriving local ecosystem. With a profound understanding of the importance of coexistence with nature, the new security solution was intentionally designed to accommodate the movement of local wildlife. Gaps between the pales of the fencing facilitate the free movement of animals through the site ensuring that while security remains uncompromised, the natural ecosystem can flourish undisturbed. Now fully restored, a new life has been breathed into the Rewley Road Swing Bridge. Beyond its full restoration, the bridge now symbolises a link between the past and the future.

Peter Jackson, Managing Director, Jacksons Fencing, comments: "We're thrilled to have been part of restoring the Rewley Road Swing Bridge's historic charm while infusing modern security. Our commitment to eco-conscious solutions mirrors the Oxford Preservation Trust's vision for a biodiverse landscape. By strategically integrating wildlife-friendly features, we've created a haven for both heritage and nature. The bridge's removal from the Heritage at Risk Register and its recognition with the Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award in 2022 spotlight our collective dedication to preserving history while embracing security and sustainability."

Find out more about Jacksons Fencing’s fencing solutions here.

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