News 9 February 2024

Striking New Artwork Unveiled at the Matlock Station Footbridge

An impressive 3.4 square metre artwork depicting a Midland Railway 1000 Class steam locomotive has transformed Matlock Station Footbridge..

This type of locomotive was a common sight in Matlock until the 1960s.

The Unveiling Ceremony was an opportunity to celebrate the transformation of the pedestrian approach to Matlock Station.

An impressive 3.4 square metre Artwork attached to Matlock Station Footbridge was unveiled at a ceremony on 9th February.  Dominating the approach to Matlock Station since 2007 the structure had long been regarded as ‘the ugly footbridge’.  It has been transformed by the addition of a new Artwork depicting a Midland Railway 1000 Class steam locomotive.  This type of locomotive was a common sight in Matlock until the 1960s.  It was chosen to symbolise the creation of modern Matlock that resulted from the coming of the railway in 1849.

A complementary plaque installed beneath the artwork tells the story of the Number 1000 steam engine alongside the story of the creation of present-day Matlock.  The plaque features two maps – an 1899 map shows the layout of Matlock Station in its Victorian prime with, alongside it, a 2024 map showing how much has changed in the last 125 years. A challenge to ‘Spot the Differences!’

To make the project happen various organisations had to collaborate, each playing a distinctive role.  Matlock Civic Association had conceived the scheme, secured the funding and co-ordinated its completion.  Derbyshire County Council (owners of the footbridge) granted a Licence for the work to Matlock Town Council – who took ownership of the completed project.  Much of the £10,000 cost was secured through the Community Rail Partnership.  AJS Structural Engineers provided the structural calculations and Chris Addison organised the detailed design and installation with artist Phil Rutt providing the illustrations.

The Unveiling Ceremony was an opportunity to celebrate the transformation of the pedestrian approach to Matlock Station.

Tony Symes (Chairman of Matlock Civic Association) introducing the Ceremony said – ”It has been a difficult project to take from idea to completion but it shows what can be achieved through collaborative effort – the result has been worth it”.

Councillor Trevor Ainsworth (Chairman of the Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership) explained – “This impressive railway artwork is a great way to distinguish the entrance into Matlock station providing an attractive welcome for passengers as well as a link with local history and the community, which the railway has served for generations. The Community Rail Partnership is delighted to have supported this project and we are extremely grateful to Community Rail Network and East Midlands Railway for their generous grant funding provided towards this project”.

Councillor Jason Knighton (Deputy Mayor of Matlock) said – ”This striking new artwork is another example of the longstanding partnership between the Town Council and the Civic Association.  The Town Council is taking the responsibility for ongoing maintenance but the achievement is something we can all take pride in.”

Chris Addison (the contractor responsible for detailed design and installation) explained how the project had been completed by fret-cutting the artwork followed by baking the illustrations onto both the Artwork and the site plaque.  He reflected –“ This has been a great project to take forward to  completion.  I learned a lot about the story of the Locomotive – and a lot about the story of Matlock too!”

Sue Burfoot (County Councillor for Matlock) said in conclusion -”It’s taken many years and a lot of effort to get to this day. Thanks to all who have made it happen.  But special thanks must go to the Civic Association who persevered and overcame many difficulties to bring the project to fruition.  It’s been a long road to get here!  It looks great”.

The Midland Compound No. 1000 Steam Engine still exists and can be seen at Barrow Hill Roundhouse outside Chesterfield.

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