Lift bridge animation
Movable Bridges in the British Isles
Swing bridge animation

About me

I am a 'retired person' - retired from various things! I worked as a teacher for 28 years, including 25 years on the staff of a residential special school. When the stress of that got too much I took early retirement and then spent 8 years driving for an executive car hire company. Most of the work was airport runs and I covered 380,000 miles in those 8 years.

During my working life I have been an insurance clerk, worked in shops, on the factory floor, a bit of farm labouring and for a one summer did a milk round - whatever paid the rent really!

My wife Bronwen was also a teacher and for 17 years was headteacher of a Special Needs School for children aged 2 - 6.

We have 3 sons and 2 grandchildren.

When my wife Bronwen died suddenly in 2005 I decided to retire from paid employment altogether and spend more time doing various things that I had never had enough time for before.

This included spending a great deal more time on this movable bridges project, but also travelling more widely. During the last 2 years this has included trips to Finland, Portugal, Kuwait and Wales - plus of course visits to various parts of England. Both of these activities combine well with probably my oldest hobby - photography. I have been messing about with cameras since I was lent a little 'Vest Pocket Kodak' when I was about 10 years old. I was later given the camera, and still have the camera and the negatives from that first film!

I love the digital age and the fact that digital images are so easily manipulated without all the time in the dark room messing about with test pieces, chemicals and drying times!

Bronwen and I spent many happy times on the Norfolk Broads. Starting out with an 8’ dinghy in the 1960’s we eventually acquired a 28’ cabin cruiser. It was the discovery of two demolished swing rail bridges on the River Waveney that launched me on this project to record the history of movable bridges. We also owned a caravan and toured Britain in that. Lately the caravan was very useful for research trips and photo shoots for this project.

After Bronwen’s death in 2005 I sold the cruiser – and later sold the caravan too.

I was a member of St. Mary’s Church Melton Mowbray for over 25 years. In 2010 a new curate – the Rev Sally Rowland – was appointed to our clergy team. In 2011 Sally and I got engaged and we married on December 30th 2011. When Sally completed her training in the summer of 2013 she was offered a living as a team vicar in Hampshire. So after 66 years living in Leicestershire and Rutland I moved south!

Much of my time since then has been spent sorting out the vicarage and the garden, and transferring my shed, greenhouse and large hobby workshop from Oakham to Hampshire.

We have settled into life in Hampshire very well. Sally is frantically busy in her ministry which includes working with up to 14 schools in the area. I am now beginning to find time – once again – to work on this bridges project!

Stewart Marchant