A COMMUNITY gathered to celebrate the grand reopening of a historic footbridge after a project saw it saved and renovated.

Residents in Coggeshall came together on Sunday to celebrate Nunn’s Bridge reopening to the public.

The bridge was first built in 1892 by blacksmith Henry 'Dick' Nunn in his Coggeshall forge, replacing a previous crossing over the River Blackwater which had collapsed several years earlier.

On August 31, 1892, the complete bridge was put in place, with 703 people crossing it on the first day.

Nunn's Bridge subsequently became a key feature of the Coggeshall landscape and was used daily to enjoy rural walks along the river.

Three years ago, the footbridge faced an uncertain future as expensive repairs were needed, and Essex Highways was thinking of replacing it with a more modern structure.

In September 2019, the community swung into action, creating a petition to save the bridge which quickly received support from more than 700  people.

A campaign was also led by historian Trevor Disley to seekNational Listing status for the bridge from Historic England, and the subsequent award of Grade II listing secured the future of Nunn's Bridge, and the work of restoration was able to begin.

Opening the ceremony, Coggeshall Parish Council chairman Ian Hagger commended the huge community effort which had succeeded in saving the bridge.

Julian Prideaux, chairman of the Coggeshall Society, also reflected that Dick Nunn would have been pleased to see his bridge restored to such good order.

The ceremonial ribbon was cut by two long-standing Coggeshall residents, Josie Martin, and Bruce Northrupp.

Reminiscent of events 130 years ago, spectators were then able to cross the bridge in celebration.

Also unveiled on Sunday was an information panel explaining the history of the bridge.

Coggeshall parish councillor June Alston said: “We are keen the memory of Dick Nunn and his achievements should be preserved and panels such as this are part of the process.” 

“Coggeshall has an enormously rich heritage and the revised guide will help visitors towards a better understanding of it."

The guide will be available at Coggeshall Museum, Paycocke's House, and the Bakealicious Tea Room.