History Of Clifton Suspension Bridge
In 1753, a Bristolian merchant named William Vick died and left £1,000 in his will on the understanding that it would be invested and would eventually fund a bridge to connect Clifton with Leigh Woods.
In 1829, Vick’s donation had matured and a competition was launched to find a design that would make his dream become a reality. The first competition was poorly managed, so a second competition took place the following year, with a young architect named Isambard Kingdom Brunel being awarded 2nd place. After some reconsideration, Brunel’s design was declared the winning entry in early 1831.
Construction of the bridge was intermittent, often stopping for several years while further funds were raised. In 1851, some 20 years after construction commenced, the ironwork was sold and the project was deemed a failure. Brunel tried in vain to garner further interest, but his untimely death in 1859 meant that he would never see the bridge that he often referred to as “my first child, my darling” being completed.
In 1864, as a tribute to Brunel, Clifton Suspension Bridge was finally completed and officially opened on December 8th.