PRESERVATION - WHY THE FRIENDS ?
Since the 1980’s much has been achieved towards the preservation of this magnificent and much-loved piece of our local and national history. In 1996 drilling into one of the Viaduct piers was undertaken to confirm that the core was mass concrete and not bricks, as had originally been supposed.
A series of applications for Listing Status were made to English Heritage but all rejected, firstly on the grounds that the mass concrete of 1890/1 (the earliest known in a large structure in UK) was not visible and secondly that the Viaduct’s role in 1944 towards the liberation of Europe was of no consequence. Unfortunately rules do not allow for re-application following refusal unless further or new information is available, and there is nothing about the Hockley Viaduct that is new to us.
The Friends of Hockley Viaduct, set up in 2007, has been instrumental in keeping the Viaduct to the forefront of Winchester City Council’s mind with the result that in 2012 funding was agreed to undertake a restoration.
Surveys concerning the diverse wildlife which has colonised the Viaduct had been undertaken and Engineers been consulted, and in 2008 Sustrans made advances to WCC with a view to buying the structure for its National Cycle Network – a government initiative.
This took a great deal longer than originally envisaged for a variety of reasons, mainly around the varied ownership and plans of those individual owners.
The Friends’ other important task had been to completely remove or cut down all vegetation growing on the track bed and walls, but of course it all grew again and was not a dissimilar activity to painting the Forth Bridge!
How you helped:
For a small contribution to our funds many people became members of “Friends of Hockley Viaduct.” We are still seeking funds as there is still be work to be done though the main restoration is complete.
The Friends are still in talks with the City Council and Sustrans concerning the necessary information boards and a couple of more seats.
If you’d like to help, details are available from Julia Sandison,
How to help