The Royal Albert Bridge under construction, 1858.
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Amongst the first railway photographs were views of major engineering projects, such as the construction of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's (1806-1859) bridge linking Devon and Cornwall. The first span is almost in position and the second has been floated into the River Tamar from the Devon shore. The spans were painstakingly raised by hydraulic rams, while the stone piers were built up to the truses three feet at a time. The Royal Albert Bridge was Brunel's last and perhaps greatest masterpiece. It was constructed from wrought iron and was named for Albert, the Prince Consort, who opened the bridge in May 1859. Brunel also designed the Clifton suspension bridge, completed in 1864 after his death, and the Hungerford suspension bridge (1841-1845).