'Great Tubular Bridge acros the Menai Strait', Wales, 1851.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by A Ashley after an original drawing by J F Burrell. The Britannia Tubular Bridge was designed by Robert Stephenson (1803-1859) and was completed in 1850. It was constructed to provide trains of the Chester and Holyhead Railway with a pasageway acros the Menai Straits from mainland Wales to Anglesey. Stephenson's solution to the problem of how to carry the weight of trains pulling multiple carriages acros the straits was to construct the bridge from rectangular iron tubes, through which the trains would run. The railway terminated at Holyhead, which became a major port for travellers to Ireland.