Brunel Swivel BridgeBrunel's Other Bridge

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Brunel Swivel Bridge Project 2021

Volunteer Workdays

Workdays for 2021 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.

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.

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

Progress in 2021

Due the Covid pandemic we weren't able to do any work in the first part of 2021 but we were back in late May

May 2021

Our first work party of the year.

Thanks to everyone who turned out in lovely sunny weather. With such a big team we achieved much and transformed the appearance of the site.

We welcomed Chris Burson who drove all the way from Warminster, and Julie, recently appointed to the BCC regeneration Team, with her charming eight year old daughter Gwen. They painted out graffiti, and then Gwen helped Daisy Silva, a student at Bath Uni, carry out heroic engineering work in the ram-pit. Led by Charlie, they lifted the pit covers, rigged up a jacking gantry over the pit and lifted the 1 Tonne hydraulic ram ready for the base holes to be reamed out during the next volunteer workday. Charlie has just finished his A Levels and is hoping to start at Plymouth University in September, so we wish you every success with your grades Charlie.

The gardening party did great work removing rampant weeds from the site, so many thanks to John Willis, Reece Cammock, and Iain Boyd from the Bristol Civic Society. The Civic Society's Chair Simon Birch also visited before rushing off to another volunteering event. The graffiti-obliterators comprising Ian, Chris, Julie, Gwen and Martin made both sides of the Bridge look less vandalised, whilst Peter Heaven videoed and Geoff acted as organizer, facilitator and cleaner of paint-brushes.

Our next workday is on Saturday 26th June so please join us to do further battle with the rust, weeds,and graffiti.

See the photos May 2021

June 2021

Our second work party of the year.

What a great day! Beautiful weather, new volunteers, lots achieved!

We welcomed newcomers Emily and young son Max who joined Julie, Gwen and Daisy enthusiastically painting out graffiti on BOB and the Plimsoll Bridge. The result looks good, and the youngsters didn't get paint on their clothes, well done!

John Willis conserved the two wooden end-stops by painting the caps and staining the timber, then painted out graffiti on the green door of the nearby hut.
Chris B cleared huge quantities of weeds and helped with the painting.
Daisy is a Bath University Heritage Management Undergraduate and Charlie has just passed his A levels and is starting Marine Science at Plymouth Uni in September. In the ram-pit they lifted the covers, erected a jacking gantry, and raised the heavy ram which had been laid in the pit after inspection off-site. That sounds easy, but it is a complex task involving multiple stages of blocking and adjusting the big jacks, so achieving this so efficiently and safely was a great credit to both. David Furness then worked to bolt on the broken corner of one flange, by drilling and tapping, using his specially-made series of steel drill-sleeves and an unusual right-angle drill. Thank you for all your engineering input on this tricky task David.

We reamed out the rusted holes in the ram-base and Charlie scrabbled in the mud underneath to thoroughly clear the pockets in the concrete bed to receive the ironwork. Finally Charlie, Daisy, John and Geoff lowered the ram back into its original resting place and refitted the steel covers. Peter Heaven videoed the operations and Bob Watkins helped generally.
Our next workday is on Saturday 24th July so please join us to do further battle with the rust, weeds,and graffiti.

See the photos June 2021

July 2021

Our third work party of the year.

Faced with rain forecast at lunchtime we made good use of our time on the Swivel Bridge and surrounding area.
Julian Baldwin, Chris, John and Geoff finally beat the graffiti artists by cleaning off and repainting all the graffiti on the whole of the west face of the Plimsoll Bridge!
It looks good (see photo) but lets hope our young friends don't re-tag the clean canvas we have created.

In the south ram-pit John Willis tried out a clever extractor that he had invented to remove a broken 'tap' (threading tool) stuck in one of the holes, but it was seriously jammed.
Instead David drilled a new fixing to finally secure the broken corner of the brittle ram casting, as shown in the photo.

Meanwhile Julian Beel, Charlie and Bob continued to re-erect the ram assembly following its off-site inspection.
Our next workday is on Saturday 28th August so please join us to do further battle with the rust, weeds,and graffiti.

See the photos July 2021

August 2021

Our fourth work party of the year.

Although numbers were depleted by holidays, our 'faithfuls' progressed reassembly work in the south ram-pit, and cleared weeds generally around the site. Ian removed two large tree-roots from the masonry around Jessop's early 19th century lock which were making it unstable, see photo.

Thank you Julian and Peter for videoing, and our AIBT web-master Robin for visiting us and taking photos. Thanks too to John who demonstrated his new mapping app, which he is now using to record all the heritage assets in the Cumberland Basin area.

On Saturday and Sunday 11-12th September visitors on Doors Open Days will be visiting the site with audio tour guides. These days will NOT be volunteer workdays due to holiday commitments

We wish Charlie every success as he starts Marine Science at Plymouth University. Thank you for your amazing help over the last five years, we look forward to seeing you again on your visits back home in Bristol.

Meanwhile Julian Beel, Charlie and Bob continued to re-erect the ram assembly following its off-site inspection.

Our next full work-day is on Saturday 16th October, so do please join us then.

See the photos August 2021

October 2021

Our last work party of the year.

Last Saturday was our last Vols Workday for this year, and we achieved much. In lovely sunny conditions. Julian, David, Charlie and Geoff opened up the south pit, drilled, heated and pressed out three rusted studs, cleaned up eight rusty bolts with die-nuts, and refitted both original slide-rails, so the south jigger is almost complete again after its off-site tests. To complete this tricky work we needed Imperial-thread repair tools which are no longer made, but John Willis kindly loaned us some, so that we reclaimed the original fastenings, much better than having to renew them in metric.

John painted out the latest graffiti working alongside our amazing web-master Dominic who perfected the art of painting with a 2m long brush atop a ladder, see photo. Chris and Dominic weeded, so that the site is now tidy for the winter, and Peter continued to capture the evidence on video.

Charlie came back specially from Plymouth Uni for the weekend to help us, and starred in photographs for the City Council's 'Harbour Hopes' consultation, taken by our new supporter Ibi. We welcomed four other new supporters too, Neil, Rob, Caleb and John. Thanks for your interest folks.

If it's not too early, 'Happy Christmas' ! See you next year.

See the photos October 2021

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