Clifton Suspension Bridge ironwork set to be preserved

17th April 2024


A city’s famous bridge is set to undergo a major refurbishment project to conserve its historic ironwork.

In April, Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust begins a two-year project to protect the iron chains of Bristol’s famous Grade I listed landmark.

A protective paint system will be used across the chains, latticework and stanchions, which run along the outer side of the bridge’s footways.

The project has been entirely funded through bridge toll collection.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge took 33 years to complete, and was designed by world-famous engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Clifton Suspension Bridge has been maintained and managed by the Trust since 1953, and has always operated as a toll bridge.

A large number of the bridge’s chain links are 180 years old and were originally used for Brunel’s Hungerford Footbridge in London, which opened in 1845.

When the footbridge was demolished to make way for the Charing Cross Railway Bridge, the engineer John Hawkshaw recycled the parts to complete Bristol’s own suspension bridge.

As the existing lighting will need to be removed to complete the inspection and paintwork, the Trust also plans to install a cutting edge and sustainable lighting system, which follows the completion of an extensive consultation and planning process.

Bridgemaster Trish Johnson said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime project that will safeguard important original features designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, as well as updating the bridge’s illuminations to ensure we are reaching the highest standards for sustainability whilst minimising light pollution.”




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