Ornamental Bridge ‘Stone Matching’ reveals fascinating links to Ducal past

Clumber Bridge

After recently recovering stone from Clumber Lake, we are now embarking upon the next phase of restoring our beautiful Ornamental Bridge after a shocking incident of vandalism in March 2018, as we look to source the stone we will use to rebuild this fine structure, and set a provisional date for rebuilding work to begin.

This stone must very closely match existing masonry to ensure that the appearance of the bridge is very similar to the way it looked before the vandalism took place.

Stone is retrieved from Clumber Lake
Stone is retrieved from Clumber Lake
Stone is retrieved from Clumber Lake

This stone must very closely match existing masonry to ensure that the appearance of the bridge is very similar to the way it looked before the vandalism took place.

‘Stone matching’ - as described by Dr Stephen Parry of the British Geological Survey - is “to identify a replacement stone type that is as similar as possible to the existing stone type and will therefore co-exist harmoniously”.

The results of these tests were fascinating, and provided a unique insight into Clumber Park’s ducal past.

It has been found that the stone used to build Clumber Bridge is ‘Steetley Stone. This was quarried very locally to Clumber Park - at Steetley Quarry near Worksop.

Clumber Park’s very own Duke Of Newcastle owned stone and mineral rights in much of north Nottinghamshire and north-east Derbyshire, and it makes sense that he would have wished for his bridge to be built using materials he owned.

The stone was analysed in minute detail
The stone was analysed in minute detail
The stone was analysed in minute detail

Steetley Quarry was active up until the mid-20th century, but unfortunately closed in the 1960s. Therefore, options for obtaining supplies of suitable replacement stone have been found to be limited.

However, very close matches that are both a similar colour and texture can be found at other quarries close by. In the coming months, we will be visiting these quarries in order to ensure the best match is chosen, and acquire the stone to be used for the rebuilding process.

It is great news for the restoration of Clumber Bridge, which it is hoped will get under way in May 2019 after the harsh conditions of winter subside – allowing our visitors to marvel at this magnificent structure once more in the not too distant future.

A family enjoy the stunning backdrop of the Ornamental Bridge
Family by the bridge at Clumber Park
A family enjoy the stunning backdrop of the Ornamental Bridge

Bridge restoration project manager Rob Brough said, “Finding the roots of the stone to be so local was fascinating, and in keeping with the fondness the Dukes of Newcastle had for sourcing materials in the local area.

“We would like to thank the British Geological Survey for their speedy analysis and excellent work in identifying the stone used.

“We are also delighted to be welcoming established architectural practice, Rodney Melville & Partners, to the team. Specialising in the conservation, repair and alteration of historic buildings, their skills and expertise will be invaluable in the restoration process of the Ornamental Bridge.”

Regular updates throughout the rebuild process will be provided on our website and on our social media channels - we will be letting you know how you can get involved and help us to restore our beautiful bridge for future generations to enjoy once more.