Bo'ness Real Ale Appreciation Society

Real Ale Festival 2012 - Glass Theme
Sunday, 29 July 2012 00:00

Theme for 2012 Bo'ness Real Ale Festival

Festival Glass Theme 2012 - Bridgeness Slab

It always difficult each year trying to find an appropriate theme for the festival.

It's our own fault as we started out, back in 2001, celebrating a major event in the town, never thinking at that time that 11 years later we would still be doing it.

This year's festival theme was easy!

We try to find a theme that is relevant and something that promotes and encourages visitors to Bo'ness.

Luckily, this year there is something happening that is not just of importance for Bo'ness but extends to mainland Europe as well!

2012 Theme - The Return of the Bridgeness Slab

What's the Bridgeness Slab?

A few years ago the Bo'ness Real Ale Festival celebrated the Antonine Wall being designated a World Heritage Site. In itself a major achievement which had international recognition.

But, why the Bridgeness Slab?

When the Romans built their walls to keep out the marauding, ungrateful locals, different legions built stretches of the wall and commemorated their contribution with a distance marker, stone or a slab of carved stone.

The Bridgeness Slab is the largest distance marker ever found and is of major importance in the Roman conquest, history and occupation of Britain. When I say it's big I mean it is big at approx 3m by 1m.

Bridgeness Slab

The slab was found at Bridgeness, in 1868, on a rocky promontory close to what was then the shore at Harbour Road, Bo'ness.

The slab was presented by Mr Cadell of Grange, local landowner, to the National Museum of the Antiquaries of Scotland in Edinburgh and a facsimile of the centre panel erected close to the position where it was found. If you have a look it is pretty hard to find and see!

The slab has international importance

The Slab's description as the largest and finest of the legionary tablets gives a clue to its importance and as such it forms the centre piece of the Roman section housed in the National Museums of Scotland in Chambers Street, Edinburgh.

Original Bridgeness Slab in National Museum of Scotland

The original is too important, a rare and an individual example of a Roman Legionary distance marker stone of national and international importance, for it to be considered for return to its natural home in Bo'ness.

But, a replica of the Bridgeness Slab is returning to Bo'ness

10 years after a couple of Bo'ness Community Councillors suggested it would be good to get it back, a tall order given its importance, a full size replica in sandstone, the original material, is being erected on a site in Kinnegars Park adjacent to Harbour Road and a couple of hundred yards from where it was found back in 1868.

So, as yours truly, was one of the Community Councillors, it was a no-brainer for the Festival theme for 2012.

And, by the time of the Festival it will have been erected and officially opened so you can all go and see it for real!



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