RESTORATION of a huge ‘book of bridges’ containing original 1870s railway architecture drawings is now complete.

A fundraising drive was launched at the start of the year to raise the £3,100 needed to restore the historic book which is a yard wide and two-feet high.

It contains drawings for the now closed Garsdale-Hawes branch line in the Yorkshire Dales but careful conservation was needed to safeguard its decades-old pages and ageing spine.

Thanks to support from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF), which contributed a third of the costs, the book has now been fully restored.

The pages have been cleaned one at a time and the full restoration was carried out by paper conservators Stephen and Pamela Allen from Durham.

The SDF granted £1,000 to the project, with the remainder coming from a public appeal and parish council donations.

Mr Allen gave an illustrated talk last month about the project at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes, where the book is kept.

Appeal organiser Ruth Annison said she was pleased to see the book restored.

She said: “These are the original drawings for the Garsdale to Hawes branch line and we are very privileged that they have survived.

“It’s nice to see an old book looking good again.

“Stephen and Pamela Allen have done a superb restoration job and I would like to thank them and all the donors, including the Sustainable Development Fund, as well as the staff at the Dales Countryside Museum.”

Museum manager Fiona Rosher said: “The Book of Bridges is a detailed structural design manual for the Garsdale to Hawes line and so it is of strong local interest.

“It’s great that this important document has been conserved.”

As part of the project each page of the book has been digitally scanned.

These scans will be printed and made available to view at the Dales Countryside Museum.

The book itself will be made available only for specialist research due to its fragility.

This year is the 140th anniversary of the opening – in 1878 – of the six-mile Garsdale to Hawes line.