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"Brunel's other bridge" could move to Albion Dry Dock by SS Great Britain

Credit: SS Great Britain Trust

It's been revealed that a swing bridge built by Isembard Kingdom Brunel that currently sits in the Cumberland Basin, could be moved.

In partnership with Bristol City Council, the SS Great Britain Trust (SSGBT) and the Avon Industrial Buildings Trust (AIBT) are considering whether it could be fully restored, and then moved to the Albion Dry Dock beside the famous ship.

The AIBT has taken the lead in caring for Brunel’s first wrought iron opening bridge single-handedly in recent years, but now the new partnership will explore ambitions for the bridge’s further conservation and restoration to full working order.

A study will investigate whether the bridge could be used as a crossing over the entrance of the Albion Dry Dock, beside the SS Great Britain.

The careful relocation would form part of a major capital development by the SS Great Britain Trust, and a collaboration with AIBT to move, preserve and restore operation to the bridge. 

The SSGBT says the partnership is bringing "all the right people together", to save Brunel's swing bridge and give it the visibility it deserves.

Currently it sits unused in the Cumberland Basin.

“The Trust is delighted to announce this partnership with AIBT," Chief Executive of the SS Great Britain Trust Matthew Tanner said.

"This is a great opportunity to support the invaluable commitment of AIBT volunteers, without whose work we would not have a bridge to save.

"The Trust brings additional conservation expertise and – as a museum and heritage charity which preserves Brunel’s legacy and cares for an accredited national collection – wider visibility and support.

“First steps in this new partnership will explore, in conjunction with Bristol City Council and Historic England, options for its viable, long-term preservation, with a new study investigating whether an eventual home for the bridge could see it serve as a crossing over the entrance of the Albion Dry Dock, beside the SS Great Britain. 

"The careful relocation would form part of a major capital development by the SS Great Britain Trust, and a collaboration with AIBT to move, preserve and restore operation to the bridge."

The bridge, also known as Brunel's other bridge in a reference to the world famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, 

Next month the swing bridge will celebrate its 170th anniversary. 

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