Join the Brunel Swivel Bridge 170th Birthday Celebrations!

The Brunel Swivel Bridge, dubbed ‘Brunel’s Other Bridge’, is a remarkable survival of one of Brunel’s most original concepts, a pivoting bridge that once crossed his new lock at the entrance to Bristol City Harbour.  It is much older than the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and is still in place but is now derelict, the only piece of Brunel’s work to have been abandoned in the City.

For five years a remarkable and enthusiastic group of volunteers from the Avon Industrial Buildings Trust ( has been carrying out investigations, trials, emergency repairs and development work to restore the Bridge in situ as a crossing over the working Entrance Lock.  When restored it will be ‘the only part of Brunel that still moves’! See for more information.

The Swivel Bridge is 170 years old this year, so we are holding a two-day 170th Birthday Celebration on 7-8th September at the Bridge.  There will be ‘Have-a-Go’ blacksmithing and other metalworking activities for adults and children, visitors will be invited to lift the 70T structure, there will be interactive models, tours of the Bridge, refreshments and so on. The event is free, but there will be a charge for each ‘Have-a-Go’ activity.

Take a look here for more details.

Volunteer Age 12
12 year-old volunteer helping out at the bridge

The Swivel Bridge is Grade 2* Listed and of national importance.  Surprisingly, a copy of the Bridge dating from the 1850’s has recently been discovered in St. Petersburg, so clearly Brunel’s Swivel Bridge has international significance.

The Institution of Structural Engineers (UK) is celebrating the 170th Anniversary with a conference in the Create Centre next to the swivel Bridge on 6th September.  Entitled, ‘Brunel’s Bristol Swivel Bridge, Its place in his office and his world’ speakers will look at the history of the Bridge’s design & construction, how someone as busy as Brunel delivered his many projects, his early use of photography, and of course, the latest research on that interesting replica bridge in St. Petersburg.

To book a place for the Conference see the I.Struct.E website:

West End View, sheen
West End view, sheen

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