AN Essex venue will be holding a special weekend of celebrations to mark a huge milestone of a nearby landmark.

The East Anglian Railway Museum will be celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Chappel Viaduct.

As part of the viaduct commemoration, a mammoth new exhibition of 64 watercolour paintings of the viaduct will be staged at the museum's Goods Shed between June 15 and August 18.

The series of paintings by renowned Chappel-based artist Władysław Mirecki feature all 32 arches of the viaduct from both east and west perspectives.

Władysław Mirecki, born in Chelmsford with Polish parents, is self-taught and has painted all his life.

Mirecki first came to Chappel in January 1986, after abandoning his career as an industrial designer to commit to painting and where he worked three days a week at the East Anglian Museum.

He first saw the arches in the late summer of that year.

He said: “To supplement my income I worked three days a week on a manpower services commission scheme at the East Anglian Museum. I slept on site in a sleeping car.

“Unbeknown to me, my wife-to-be, Edna Battye, had started Chappel Galleries. 

"It was there I first saw the Viaduct stretched before my eyes that I instantly began to think about painting all its arches.

“It took more than 30 years before my vision was realised.”

Chappel Viaduct was built with seven million bricks by the Colchester, Stour Valley, Sudbury and Halstead Railway in 1849 under the direction of railway engineer, Peter Bruff.

It is one of the largest brick-built railway structures in the UK,

When the first ever train ran across the viaduct, the engine’s chimney became entangled with the triumphal arch that had been erected causing the arch to fall onto the engine, which continued to Sudbury adorned with foliage and woodwork.

Situated on the Gainsborough line between Marks Tey and Sudbury, the structure is south of Chappel and Wakes Colne station where the East Anglian Railway Museum is located.

The viaduct was Grade II listed as being of special interest in 1967, and in 2002 it became a scheduled monument due to its role in the “stop line” strategy developed to respond in the event of an invasion in 1941.