One of England's oldest river bridges placed on at-risk register by cultural watchdog

LONDON, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- A 16th century stone bridge dating back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 has been placed on an at risk register, Britain's heritage agency, Historic England said Thursday.

Known as Wool Bridge in the Dorset village of Wool, the bridge is described as the best-preserved Elizabethan bridge in Dorset, and already has one of the highest cultural protection ratings.

Following heavy rain earlier this year, the bridge collapsed, with Historic England now working with Dorset County Council in advance of the repairs which should be completed later this year.

Historic England said a crossing of the river Frome, known as a "Wullebrigg" was first documented in 1244 with the first record of a bridge at Wool crossing the Frome dating back to 1343. The current structure dates for the most part to the 16th century.

Historic England said: "One positive to come out of the damage and subsequent repairs will be the opportunity to record archaeology around the structure, which may uncover material from an earlier bridge and artefacts spanning the centuries that local people have used this place as a crossing point."

Also added to the list is the Wisbech and Fenland Museum in Cambridgeshire, one of the oldest purpose-built museums in England.

It opened in 1847 and is an almost perfect example of a Victorian museum and is still fitted out with its original display cases. Its collections are made up of natural science and the local fauna and flora of Wisbech and the surrounding Fens.

Historic England said the main issue putting the building at risk is poor condition of the roof, with water leaks causing serious damage.

Kasbah Conservation Area in fishing port Grimsby has also been added to the at risk register, even though plans are already underway to repair the area, which is steeped in Grimsby's great maritime heritage. A Heritage Action Zone partnership has been formed to attract funding and manage a repair program.

Historic England introduced its at risk register began in 1998 as a way of monitoring and improving the country's heritage. Two-thirds of buildings or structures that were on the Register 20 years ago have since been removed with their futures secured.

There are now 5,160 entries on the at-risk register including 1,489 buildings or structures in London, 4 battlefield sites and 4 shipwrecks and 2,151 archaeology sites and monuments.

Duncan Wilson, CEO at Historic England, said: "Over the past 20 years we have used the Heritage at Risk Register to highlight places in need of care and attention."

[ Editor: WPY ]
 

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