Clifton Suspension Bridge
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Architect Isambard Kingdom Brunel
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Location Bristol, England   map
Date 1836 to 1864   timeline
Building Type Bridge, engineering structure
 Construction System suspension span
Climate temperate
Context rural
Style Victorian Functionalist
Notes Spans 702 feet across Avon Gorge on reused iron chains.
Images

 


Photo, historical

Photo, historical

Photo, historical
Drawings

 


Elevation Drawing

Elevation Drawing

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Discussion Clifton Suspension Bridge Commentary

"The Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a versatile and imaginative engineer, was carried out contrary to the recommendation of Thomas Telford (1757-1834) who, as a result of the near destruction of his recently-built Menai Suspension Bridge (1819-26) by crosswinds, doubted the advisability of erecting a suspension bridge of this size in such an exposed position. The principal span of 214 m (702 ft) seems even more daring because of the 76 m (250 ft) deep gorge. It was characteristic of the period that Brunel sought to match the grandeur of the setting with a noble design, and the pylons (which were to have had sphinxes and hieroglyphic decoration) were of Egyptian inspiration. The bridge was delayed for lack of funds and was completed after Brunel's death using chains from another of his works, the Hungerford Suspension Bridge, London (1841-5)."

— Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. p1107.

Resources
Sources on Clifton Suspension Bridge

Isambard Brunel. The Life of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Civil Engineer. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1971. elevation drawing, p48.

Isambard Brunel. The Life of Isambard Kingdom Brunel: Civil Engineer (1870). New Jersey: Associated University Presses, 1972. ISBN 0-8386-1201-6. LC 72-850. TA140.B75B6. elevation drawing of bridge as it was built, f2, p49.

Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. Boston: Butterworths, 1987. ISBN 0-408-01587-X. NA200.F63 1987. discussion, p1107.   The classic text of architectural history. Expanded 1996 edition available at Amazon.com

Johnson Architectural Images. Copyrighted slides in the Artifice Collection.

John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers, 1975. overview photo, p204. Reprint edition: Da Capo Press, April 1991. ISBN 0-3068-0436-0. — An accessible, inspiring and informative overview of world architecture, with lots of full-color cutaway drawings, and clear explanations. Available at Amazon.com

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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