Staff from the Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre have launched a Crowdfunding campaign to illuminate the bridge with a special light show. This is part of the Museums Association’s #SupportOurMuseums campaign, a new UK-wide initiative to support museums as they face the huge challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. The Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and was built between 1831 and 1864.
‘Light the Night’ is intended to create a special moment to surprise and delight the people of Bristol whilst raising funds to support the Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre, which has missed out on more than eight months of income and essential visitor support due to the 2020 lockdowns. The Visitor Centre is reliant on visitor donations, shop sales and tour ticketing as all toll income is used for the preservation and maintenance of the bridge itself. Chair of the Trust, Chris Booy said “illuminating the bridge will provide a moment of joy and light during the darkest months of the year whilst ensuring that the Visitor Centre is open for everyone to enjoy for years to come. The project will be the first time that the Trust has illuminated the bridge in this way, and every person supporting the Crowdfunder is invited to cast a vote and help choose the colour.”
Although the bridge is illuminated every evening with signature white LEDs, the bridge is rarely lit with colour as this requires additional equipment such as floodlights and generators to be installed. The scheme will only go ahead if a funding target of £10,000 is reached – but if it is exceeded additional elements such as lasers or projections are also planned.
Visitor Services Manager Laura Hilton said “we’ll only find out the results of the vote when we hit the fundraising target, so it’s an exciting project for the whole visitor team. We would normally have spent the year welcoming visitors and working with local schools so the project is an innovative way for us to connect with the local community and make people smile as well as keeping us hard at work during a quiet period as we plan and manage the project.”
The date of the display has yet to be announced because of uncertainties around coronavirus, but the Visitor Centre team are going to ensure that careful planning can mean it goes ahead in a COVID-secure manner.
To donate to the Crowdfunder and view the rewards on offer, visit