Chartist Bridge, Blackwood, Wales.
N 51° 40.457 W 003° 11.650
30U E 486573 N 5724829
Quick Description: 'Chartist Bridge' crosses the Sirhowy River & Valley, near Blackwood, Wales.
Location: South Wales, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 11/6/2011 1:43:48 PM
Waymark Code: WMD1KB
The Arup designed Chartist Bridge linking the East and West sides of the Sirhowy Valley. (Previously the journey was made by de-tour or over a 1 in 4 road through the bottom of the valley known locally as the Rhiw.)
The bridge is a part of the Sirhowy Enterprise Way, regeneration project and opened four months ahead of schedule on December 3, 2005.
The bridge is a cable stayed bridge 230m long supported 30m above the valley floor by a 90m A frame pylon. Difficulties with mining related subsidence during construction and in the foreseeable future led the design team to allow the bridge to breath if settlement does occur. The bridge and the Sirhowy Enterprise Way are owned and operated by Costain & Lang in a JV, under a 30 year DBFO (Design, Build, Finance, Operate) agreement.
A statue to honour the Chartist struggle and their march to Newport has been erected on the East side of the bridge while a name plate is situated on the West. The statue itself is an impressive and imposing figure of a chartist striding forward, pike in hand. It is made up of thousands of brass rings and represents strength in unity.
Info on the Chartists.
Deplorable working conditions at the time of the Industrial Revolution, however, led to Blackwood becoming a centre of Chartist organisation in the 1830s. The South Wales Chartist leaders John Frost, Zephaniah Williams — a Blackwood man — and William Williams met regularly at the Coach & Horses public house in Blackwood. Planning their march on Newport in what became known as the Newport Rising in 1839, intended to coincide with a Britain-wide 'revolution' against the Government, the gentry and the Establishment in 1839.
When the insurrection erupted in November, a large contingent of insurgents gathered at Blackwood. Upon meeting their comrades from the upper Sirhowy Valley, the rebels armed themselves with makeshift weapons and marched south to Newport to demand the adoption of the People's Charter and the release of Henry Vincent from Monmouth gaol. However, the South Wales Movement were the only ones to march and the national rising failed and its leaders were sentenced to death (later commuted to deportation to Tasmania).
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