Oxford Preservation Trust
Rewley Road Swing Bridge is a disused railway swing bridge in west Oxford. It is an important historic landmark which has been carefully restored by Oxford Preservation Trust with funding from Railway Heritage Trust and Historic England, after ownership was transferred from Network Rail. The LMS Swing Bridge is one of only two moving bridges on the Thames - the other being Tower Bridge in London. The remarkable mechanical structure dates from 1851 and was essential in keeping Oxford moving in the 19th century.
Since the 1980s, the bridge was permanently fixed in the open position, lying unused and in a state of disrepair. It was listed on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2013. In 2020, this essential part of Oxford’s Industrial heritage was restored, successfully removing it from being ‘at risk’. Every nut and bolt was taken apart, cleaned, and put back together again. In March 2019, the LMS Swing Bridge turned again for the first time in many decades, requiring at least 4 people to operate it by hand.
The 73ft long, 85 tonne swing bridge which has been restored to its former glory and in 2022 won the Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award, sits next to Rewley Bridge, and is open to visitors.
To ensure the bridge is protected against vandalism and the public and visitors are kept safe while walking around the attraction, demarcation fencing and gates were required.
To secure the site, we installed 57 metres of 1.25m high Barbican Imperial® fencing and a 3.6m wide double leaf gate with a padlockable slide latch. We also installed a fan panel where the fence meets the edge of the water to prevent people climbing round, with the fan panel along the water edge rather than over the water to ensure it does not restrict movement for boats along the canal.
Barbican Imperial vertical bar railings are ideal for protecting heritage properties because they provide a traditional appearance but with a modern security update. Featuring welded pale-through-rail construction, no visible bolts or fixings, and concealed panel-to-post connectors, this type of fencing is highly secure and resistant to vandalism. Instead of traditional wrought iron, it is made of high quality hot dip galvanised steel, making it strong and resistant to corrosion.
To provide an additional layer of protection and add the traditional colour typically seen on traditional railings, the fencing and gates were polyester powder coated black. Traditional railings are usually painted, but this entails a lot of upkeep as the paint chips and flakes. Polyester powder coating is the modern way to add colour, and was done in our own facility using architectural grade powder for a long-lasting finish.
Double leaf gates were installed within the fence line to provide access for maintenance and access if required. A padlockable slide latch is ideal for a gate that is rarely used, as owners, authorities or emergency services can hold a key for when access is required but the gate cannot be opened unless a key is held.
Oxford Preservation Trust is now working hard with designers to create a meaningful, biodiverse and beautiful landscape surrounding it to link into the chain of ‘pocket parks’ around the city, sharing a similar ethos for sustainability as Jacksons Fencing. The gaps between the pales of the fencing chosen for this project allow wildlife to roam freely; a security measure which does not impede nature.