The Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol

Bristol is home to many beautiful landmarks as well as the employment law office of our top Bristol law firm. The Clifton Suspension Bridge is probably seen as one of Bristol’s most recognisable.

Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it marked a turning point in the history of engineering and has come to symbolise Bristol as a city where big ideas can be brought into reality.

Toll Fee and Opening Hours

The Bridge is open all day, all week 365 days of the year to both pedestrians and cyclists. A single £1 toll fee applies for all motor vehicles but for pedestrians and cyclists, there is no charge.

Clifton Suspension Bridge is a grade-one listed structure and is seen as one of the highest conservation priorities being one of the oldest remaining suspension bridges across the globe.

The original engineer behind the design of the bridge was a young and innovative figure named Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He was only 24 when he was appointed for the project, which came about through competition.

Brunel, the engineer who built the bridge, described it as ‘my first child, my darling’ and said that the project marked the beginning of what would be a successful engineering decade.

The Avon Gorge is a place that has been crossed on foot since the beginning of time. In 1864, the Bridge was built to make it easier for people to get across from one side of the gorge to the other. The bridge offers stunning, high-quality views of Bristol.

A Well-Known Bristol Landmark

The Clifton Suspension Bridge is an enduring symbol of Bristol and one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city. The bridge has many accolades and enduring comments from many people including Sir Abraham Elton. The construction of the bridge began in 1826 and was completed four years later.

To this day the bridge remains one of Bristol’s most recognisable landmarks.

The Dowlais Iron Company was the company that made the iron chains for the bridge at their foundry in Wales, UK. The company had a significant impact on this historic structure.

The Dowlais village is on the outskirts of Merthyr Tydfil, where this company began around 1759. The company came about when nine members signed Articles of co-partnership in what they termed the ‘Merthir Furnace’.

The link between the Clifton bridge and the Dowlais company originally began in 1840 when they agreed to supply iron to a foundry in Cornwall. The materials would be made into eye-bar chains for the Copperhouse Foundry, in Hayle.

The Iron for the Bridge

In 1840-41, during the winter, Dowlais transported their bar iron to Hayle. Brunel, had the bar iron checked for its quality on arrival in order to see if it met his extremely high standards.

After the iron was tested to its limits, it was declared that the iron was not suitable for the project. With the iron not being up to scratch quality-wise, it looked like the construction schedule would be delayed.

The trust who were financing the bridge’s construction was running low on funds and the iron chains were cast aside and eventually picked up by the Cornish Rail company.

The absence of trust funds held back construction for a short while until Hawkshaw and Barlow were able to finish a revised design that built upon Brunel’s original model.

The bridge may never have been finished but luckily despite many setbacks, it remains one of Bristol’s most poignant sights.

If you love history, you’ll love taking a walk around the City’s harbour.

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    We can be contacted 24 hours a day.
    Our Reading Head Office address is:

    Davidson House
    Forbury Square
    RG1 3EU
    0118 914 5622
    07850 952245