CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE Two important views in the Avon Gorge, below Bristol, showing Isambard Kingdom Brunel's towers at the point when contruction of his Clifton Suspension Bridge was abandoned,[1840s] (pair)
Lot 48
BRUNEL (ISAMBARD KINGDOM). CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE Two important views in the Avon Gorge, below Bristol, showing Isambard Kingdom Brunel's towers at the point when construction of his Clifton Suspension Bridge was abandoned,[1840s] (pair)
Sold for £1,500 (US$ 2,363) inc. premium

Lot Details
BRUNEL (ISAMBARD KINGDOM)
Two important views in the Avon Gorge, below Bristol, showing Isambard Kingdom Brunel's towers at the point when construction of his Clifton Suspension Bridge was abandoned, mounted salted paper prints from calotype negatives, one with initials 'JBH' added lower left, images 168 x 222mm., [1840s] (pair)

Footnotes

  • Brunel was in his mid-twenties when, following his cooperation with his father to complete the Thames Tunnel, he went to Clifton for his health, and learned of the competition for a bridge design to join Clifton to the Somerset side at Leigh Woods. Brunel submitted four designs for bridging the Avon Gorge, in search of his first engineering commission.

    After initial rejection, one of the designs was approved and work started at Clifton in June 1831, but it was not until 1836 that any start was made on the other side. Dogged by financial problems, work continued to 1843, and then stopped until the project was officially abandoned in 1853 when the enabling Act ran out.

    The two calotypes represent the towers at the point reached by 1843, that on the Leigh side surmounted by one of the pair of cranes erected in 1842 by George Hennett, civil engineer and contractor, to lift the saddles and to assemble the bar chains. The illustrated image is quite possibly the only one to show Brunel's Swiss Cottage Site Office, to the right of the Clifton Pier. This was the first structure to be erected on site in 1831. This 2-storeyed timber building housed the working drawings, equipment etc. Also visible is a shed built alongside after 1843. A site supervisor/caretaker - Mr Morgan seems to have lived here after work stopped on the site. He and a boy operated the basket ferry.

    The bridge was revived and completed in 1864, in part as a fitting memorial to the genius and daring of Brunel. Catalogued with thanks to The Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust.
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