Clifton Suspension Bridge, 1864.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Spanning the River Avon 245 feet above the water, this bridge was designed by the British civil engineer Sir Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) in 1829-1831. Construction began in 1836 but, when funds ran out in 1853, work was halted. 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 prompting 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 8th December 1864.