On Saturday 5 December, it will be five years since Storm Desmond wreaked havoc on Cumbria and destroyed the 251-year old, three arch stone bridge at Pooley Bridge. Earlier in the Autumn, the magnificent new bridge opened to pedestrians and vehicles. And on either side, on the pedestrian walkways, over 300 engraved stone pavers bought by both visitors and locals alike. The project has raised over £50,000 which has enabled the village to establish a community fund to help fund projects and causes that benefit the community and village life.
And the final piece of the jigsaw? ? A limited edition Pooley ‘New’ Bridge Book of Memories – published in time for Christmas and a beautiful souvenir marking an historic moment in 21st Century village life. It comprises a brief history of the bridge at Pooley, from the earliest times to the present day, as well as the stories behind why over 300 people chose to have their names engraved, quite literally, in stone on Pooley ‘New’ Bridge.
The stories behind why people have wanted to be part of Pooley ‘New’ Bridge are both moving and heart-warming; from proposals and weddings to marking memorable, annual family holidays and immortalising loved ones to local families connected to the area for centuries (perhaps millennia!) and even family mottos (“As you wish!”) – they’re all there, quite literally carved in stone.
This book is not for profit and has been a labour of love for those involved – all proceeds raised will go back into the Pooley Bridge Community Fund to support projects and initiatives that enhance village life. The Community Fund is run by a voluntary committee.
It’s been five years since the old Pooley Bridge collapsed into the River Eamont in the hours following Storm Desmond; it’s been over 12 months since work started on Cumbria County Council’s state-of-the-art, elegant, stainless steel replacement; now, finally, following unprecedented weather, a global pandemic, social lockdown and distancing – Pooley ‘New’ Bridge is open and celebrated in print.
With just 500 printed, there are now less than 200 copies of the Book of Memories left. They cost £25 each and are available to buy here: https://www.ullswater.com/product/pooley-bridge-book/. Books can be posted out or collected from Granny Dowbekin’s Tearooms in Pooley Bridge. For further information on the Community Fund and details of how to get involved, visit https://www.bartonparishcouncilcumbria.co.uk/pooley-bridge-community-fund/