Brunel Swivel BridgeBrunel's Other Bridge

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Brunel Swivel Bridge Project 2020

Brunel Swivel Bridge
Investigative work on the rotation of the bridge 2018
Brunel Swivel Bridge
Turntable perspective

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Preparation and Basic Conservation

We plan to work third or fourth Saturday per month, with extra days as necessary to maintain progress.

In view of the recently-applied social restrictions work-days will be suspended now until the government lifts the controls. Please watch for further notifications. Stay healthy this summer.

Workdays for current year as follows:

BRUNEL SWIVEL BRIDGE, CUMBERLAND BASIN, Bristol BS1 6XS Come and help out or just join in and enjoy yourself. Watch this website for further details.

Sounds like fun? No experience needed, all equipment provided, and you'll get really involved in helping to save Brunel's Other Bridge. We need your help.

Contact Geoff Wallis ( if you wish to help. We need to have an idea of numbers.

Overall Details of work


As you know, the Bridge is listed Grade 2* and is on Historic England (formerly English Heritage) Buildings at Risk Register. Whilst their funding is severely restricted, HE have been supportive in providing modest grants to carry out trials and erect a temporary roof, which were completed by Bristol City and Avon Industrial Buildings Trust with volunteer help last year.

EH/HE were impressed with the Mann Williams (MW) report that resulted from the grant-funded work that we managed on behalf of the council in 2015 and suggested that we discuss an application for further investigative work on critical areas identified in the report as part of this year's Heritage at Risk programme. They also suggested that we might request further assistance in other areas via their consultancy budget and service.

Contracts will be let by the Avon Industrial Buildings Trust and supervised by their Technical team, comprising Bob Watkins and Geoff Wallis.

We want to thank Bristol City Council, English Heritage, the local amenity societies, our faithful hard-working volunteers, and huge number of supporters for getting the Project this far.

The big challenge lays ahead in securing major funding. We have a well-specified and costed scheme for repair which will form a sound basis for fund-raising.

You can make a donation using a charity website. The main donation link now uses the Wonderful fundraising website:
Brunel Swivel Bridge

We have created a project on to also help us fund raise for our HLF bid

or you can send a cheque payable to
Avon Industrial Buildings Trust to:
The Treasurer, 24, The Bluebells, Bradley Stoke, Bristol BS32 8BE

Bank details for bank transfer:
Account name: Avon Industrial Buildings Trust
Account address: CAFCASH LTD
Kings Hill
West Malling
Kent ME19 4TA
Sort code: 40-52-40
Account number: 00006720

Leaflet giving information, asking for support and how to make a donation

Progress in 2020

We start at 9.30am so do please join us if you can. There is plenty of parking space and basic toilets are available. Please wear stout footwear, and you might like to bring overalls, gloves and something to kneel on. We have gloves, high-vis vest and a helmet you can borrow, and we provide tea and coffee!

Youngsters are welcome provided their guardians are with them full time please.

March 2020

Workday Saturday 21st March
Our wonderful Spring is upon us and I am delighted to welcome you to our first work-day of the season, next Saturday 16th March starting at 9.30am.

We had exceptionally high tides recently so we need to lift off the caps of some of the turntable wheels to check whether flood-water has entered the bearings. We shall also need to clear mud and debris from the base of the Bridge and down in the ram pits. There is work to do to one of the rams, and as always we need 'gardeners' armed with rakes, buckets, trowels etc. to dispose of the weeds, moss and soil. We also need one or two volunteers with smiles and leaflets to talk to visitors and explain what we are doing.

We have gloves, high-vis vest, and a helmet for you to borrow, but please bring coveralls or old clothes, stout footwear, and a kneeling mat if possible.

Youngsters are welcome provided their guardians are supervising them full time please.

Please bear in mind that in addition to the usual risks of working on this site we are also subject to governmental advice on protecting outselves from Covid-19 which you should check before joining us. If you are vulnerable or have symptoms of the virus you should not attend.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday if you are able to join us.

Saturday was the first of the year, and the last for some while due to the new Covid-19 restrictions. David, Charlie and Geoff started by clearing up the debris that had accumulated under the Bridge, notably three box-fulls of Tiawanese nitrous oxide canisters used for whipping cream. Each box of 24 canisters can whip 6 liters of cream but, as we couldn't locate 18 litres of whipped cream, we conclude the canisters were used for a winter-time sniffing party.

The flood was exceptional, reaching 15m range, but we were pleasantly surprised that it had not deposited much silt in the lower reaches of the bridge and ram-pits. We lifted the upper shells on each of the four inner bearings of the turntable to check whether the water had entered, but apart from one small area the copious quantity of grease we applied last year had done its job of excluding water and protecting the iron/steel shafts. With the ram-pit cover lifted we took the opportunity of gluing back in place the damaged corner of one ram-flange, ready for it to be bolted through at some future date.

In view of the recently-applied social restrictions work-days will be suspended now until the government lifts the controls. Please watch for further notifications. Stay healthy this summer. Geoff

August 2020

Workday Saturday 29th August

Our first workday after the easing of the Corona virus restrictions was a special day for several reasons. We found that nature had not been idle during lockdown so Ian, John, Dominic and Geoff spent a long time weeding the whole site. The vandals had also been busy so we painted out the grossest of the graffiti and collected a large rubbish bag of bottles, sweet-bags and empty capsules of nitrous oxide laughing gas. We were then ready for Doors Open Day in September, although we are not yet sure whether it will go ahead.

Then Dominic did wonders for the site by erecting lots of bunting which fluttered satisfyingly in light breezes. By 2.00pm the sun had come out and our party-goers arrived. We opened bottles of bubbly and celebrated the work of project founders Mike and Maggie. Young Bailey presented Maggie with a cake beautifully printed with a picture of Maggie and her Lanchester car, both in their finery. There were a couple of (mercifully short) speeches of thanks, and a very pleasant time of cake and socially-distanced conversation was enjoyed by all. Geoff

September 2020

Workday Saturday 12th September

Our last workday of the year was sunny and productive.

Young Charlie tightened the cables securing the roof and then cleverly renewed a decayed batten in one of our expensive Youngman's walkway boards, whilst Ian secured the boards covering the voids in the central box structure and fitted a new one. Julian spent a productive day removing the vegetation taking hold in the masonry walls of the old lock and generally around the site. Charlie joined him to carry out some heroic clearance at lower level, all the time secured by a safety harness.

John Willis and Geoff Wallis wire brushed graffitied areas and applied grey paint, so the east end of the Bridge now looks good and we hope the vandals don't see it as a blank canvas. Geoff secured new website signs to the Bridge, painted out the graffiti on the aluminium store adjacent to the hut, fielded visitors and generally assisted with other tasks, all videoed by Peter.

Although the day was designated Doors Open Day the Covid-safe self-guided tours didn't reach BOB. However, there was a high level of interest from a good number of passing visitors.'

Photos of Progress in 2020

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