'The Clifton Suspension Bridge', Bristol, 1850s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Tinted lithograph by G Hawkins after an original drawn by S Jackson. Isambard Kingdom Brunel designed a bridge spanning the River Avon 245 feet above the water in 1829-1831. Construction began in 1836, but funds ran out and work halted in 1853. Brunel moved onto other projects including the Royal Albert Bridge over the River Tamar at Saltash, Cornwall, for which some of the material intended for the Clifton Bridge was used. Brunel died with his cherished Clifton Suspension Bridge unfinished, but his death prompted the Institution of Civil Engineers to push for the completion of the project as a memorial to him. Funding was raised, an Act of Parliament was pased confirming the bridge would be finished, and it opened on 8 December 1864.