Bennerley Viaduct: Building Community Well-being Through Restoration

An On My Watch Event

This event is part of the On My Watch series and took place virtually on Thursday, April 22, 2021, at 1 PM (EDT). See below for more information on the discussion, including the event recording, description, and speaker information. 

Event Description

Built in 1877 to carry an important railway line across Erewash Valley in Nottinghamshire, Bennerley Viaduct is one of the two last remaining wrought-iron viaducts in England. Although the structure has been out of use since 1968, efforts to demolish it have failed, facing local resistance and objection. Today, a group of local volunteers, supported by the site owners, are aiming to reconnect the communities on either side of the Erewash River. Spotlighted by the 2020 World Monuments Watch, Bennerley Viaduct is being revitalized as part of a UK-wide and global movement to transform disused railway routes into trails for walking, cycling, and to strengthen social ties, health, and well-being.

Join us on Thursday, April 22 at 1:00 pm (EDT) // 6:00 pm (BST) for an On My Watch virtual discussion on the plan to restore Bennerley Viaduct and transform it into a recreational venue encouraging outdoor exercise and community gathering, putting heritage at the heart of health and well-being. The conversation will feature Kieran Lee, Community Engagement Officer from the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct; Tim Dunn, railway architecture historian, author, and broadcaster/TV presenter; and Rebecca Chan, Executive Director of Friends of the Rail Park in Philadelphia. The event will be hosted by WMF Britain Executive Director, John Darlington.

Date: Thursday, April 22
Time: 1:00 pm (EDT) // 6:00 PM (BST)

About the Speakers

Tim Dunn

Railway architecture historian, author and broadcaster/TV presenter

Tim Dunn is a broadcaster, historian, geographer and marketer. As a broadcaster he has presented three TV series of “The Architecture the Railways Built” for UKTV, and works with a number of museums, train operating companies and heritage railways to present their own social media live broadcasts. He is also Travel Editor for the independent rail app and website, Trainline.

He has served as a trustee or board director for the British Postal Museum & Archives, the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum and the Miniature Railway Museum Trust. As a historian he has curated exhibitions on miniature railways and model architecture, writes for various magazines and contributes to TV and radio programmes on historic railway matters.


Kieran Lee

Community Engagement Officer, Friends of Bennerley Viaduct

Kieran has been working on the Bennerley Viaduct Project as Community Engagement Officer since January 2016. 

Kieran is a retired special needs teacher who has a keen interest in the conservation of the Erewash Valley. As a walker, cyclist, and local resident, Kieran is keen to see the viaduct reopened with the community playing a central role in its future. 


Rebecca Chan

Executive Director, Friends of the Rail Park

Rebecca Cordes Chan is the Executive Director of Friends of the Rail Park, the organization bringing Philadelphia's Rail Park to life. An historic preservationist by training, Rebecca’s work is focused on using arts- and culturally-based strategies as tools for inclusive economic development, and centers empathy, creativity, and social justice as the foundation for solving complex community development challenges. She received her MS from the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design, and a BA from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


John Darlington

Executive Director, WMF Britain

John Darlington, an archaeologist and author, joined World Monuments Fund (WMF) in 2015 to lead the British affiliate. Prior to joining WMF, he led projects for the UK’s National Trust focused on historic mansions, gardens and landscapes across North West England. He also served as County Archaeologist for Lancashire, and is a specialist in medieval towns and landscapes, castles and abbeys.

John is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, and a Professor of Practice at the University of Wales Trinity St David. He holds a BA from Lancaster University, an MA from the University of Birmingham and an MSc from Liverpool John Moores University. He is also the author of over 50 publications, and a regular contributor to The Art Newspaper and other journals.

About On My Watch

On My Watch is a series of conversations inviting architects, urban planners, preservationists, local stakeholders, and WMF project managers to explore the political, cultural, and technical issues around the preservation of at-risk cultural heritage sites on the World Monuments Watch around the world. 


This event is hosted in partnership with the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

This program has been approved for AIA 1.5 LU / HSW credits. ​​​​​​