BURTON man Graham Tunnicliff couldn’t believe his luck when he stumbled across a model of the historic Ferry Bridge in an antiques shop in South Derbyshire.
The former engineer from Winshill snapped up the find in Melbourne and now plans to restore it to resemble how the structure looked when it was built in 1889.
The four foot long model is made from a combination of materials including cardboard and metal and is green and black, as the bridge was originally.
Mr Tunnicliff, 66, told the Mail: “Adjacent to Melbourne Hall was an antiques shop that is no longer there. I was walking by and looking in and saw the bridge and recognised it as being Ferry Bridge. I went in and asked them what its origin was and how much they wanted for it, and they said £160.
“I was told it was originally from the former Burton Museum in Gill Street and they believed when it got closed down it got distributed all over the place. I don’t know how it ended up in Melbourne.
“I have done some work but haven’t finished it yet. When it was first built there were sheets of glass on the bottom to make it look like a river.”
Mr Tunniliff used to be a chief engineer at Nestle before his retirement and is the vice president of Burton Engineering Society.
He said: “I went to the Magic Attic to read up its history and knew the colour was correct - it used to be green and black.”
He is now deciding what to do with it when it is restored and is thinking of loaning it to the National Brewery Museum.
“When I go there will be nobody to pass it on to,” he said. “The aim is for it to go on display somewhere because of its heritage.”
The bridge, in Stapenhill, is due to undergo major restoration work in the summer to its pillars. Residents have been rallying for Staffordshire County Council to commit to doing more work on the listed structure to bring it back to its former glory.
School children have also got involved in the project.