Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash, Cornwall, 1859.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Royal Albert Bridge was built by Sir Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) and was opened by HRH Prince Albert, the Prince Consort (1819-1861) in May 1859. The viaduct carried a railway acros the estuary of the River Tamar, linking the counties of Devon and Cornwall. The Royal Albert Bridge was Brunel's last and perhaps greatest masterpiece. It was constructed from wrought iron with two spans of 455 feet and 17 short spans. Brunel also designed the Clifton suspension bridge, completed in 1864 after his death, and the Hungerford suspension bridge (1841-1845).