Brunel Swivel BridgeBrunel's Other Bridge

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Brunel Swivel Bridge Project 2022

Volunteer Workdays

Workdays for 2022 as follows:

Planned for the 3rd or 4th SATURDAY each month, but check the website for late changes. We start at 9.30am, and provide free tea and coffee, so why not bring a picnic lunch 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.

Tasks for 2022

February 2022

A training session by Nick Burwell from Bristol City's Neighbourhood Services Team on graffiti removal got our 2022 season off to a good start in sunny weather. The City kindly provided three types of chemical-remover which we tried out on metal, painted and stone surfaces with surprising success. The area around the two bridges is now clearer of graffiti than it has been for years, so let's see if we can keep it that way.
Neil, thanks for giving up your Saturday to train us, and for explaining that the chemicals are environmentally safe and not toxic to humans. (They are predominantly citric-acid and smell of lemons!)

Welcome to Olivier and Matt from Southville who joined us for the first time. They are looking forward to leading our graffiti and painting efforts, and helping develop our social media presence.

Thanks too to Chris who brought along his petrol strimmer and vanquished most of the weeds on the tongue without damage to historic stonework. Julian, John and Geoff spring-cleaned the little shed, swept it out and stowed everything neatly to allow the Docks Engineers to extract their hydraulic spares more easily if needed. That sounds easy but it entailed 3 hours work.

See the photos February 2022 Each of us felt it a real pleasure to feel 'unlocked' from Covid, out in the sun doing useful work, and enjoying each other's company.

Why not join us on Saturday 26th March, we would appreciate your help.

March 2022

We got our seasonal bridge-painting off to a good start when John removed a heavy encrustation of rust from the long angle iron riveted on to strengthen the Bridge after a ship damaged it. He then painted it with a special yellow metal primer and we'll continue this work in April.

Our 'gardening guru' Chris worked wonders with his petrol strimmer, so that the east end of the Tongue (Island) is now neater than it has ever been!. The 'greasy gang' continued to wrestle with the misalignments of the southern hydraulic ram. whilst Peter videoed all our activities. We welcomed Charlie back from university where he is doing well on his Navigation & Maritime Science degree. In the photo he is not laying down on the job, but trying to move a piece of equipment from an impossible location

See the photos March 2022

If you are interested, why not join us on Saturday 18th April, we would appreciate your help.

April 2022

Our faithful volunteers decided a day working on BOB was preferable to road traffic or airport queues so turned out in force on this sunny Easter weekend. We welcomed a new volunteer Andy G who found us on Facebook. He worked with Head Gardener Chris B and Charlie on removing vegetation and small trees threatening the south wall of Brunel's Listed Lock. Safety harnesses kept them safe working near the silt-filled lock. Chris travels all the way from the wilds of Wiltshire (Warminster) to lead our Gardening team and their work is vital to keep the Tongue looking decent and vegetation from destabilising listed historic masonry.

BOB Web-master Dominic cleared the vegetation and a small tree from the timber-decking compound. Looks good Dominic, thank you.

Graffiti-Gang leaders Olive and Matt were away on holiday in the wonderful Easter weather, but John W continued the painting project by needle-gunning and applying 2-pack primer to the steel angle used to strengthen the Bridge after its argument with a ship during the last century.

Julian, David and Geoff assembled more of the south ram-gear, and measured up for the new small components needed to complete the reassembly, whilst Peter H recorded the Tech Team on video.

Join us again in June!

See the photos April 2022

If you are interested, why not join us on Saturday 18th June, we would appreciate your help.

June 2022

The weather forcast wasn't great but we still had volunteers who braved the weather.

John was doing an excellent job removing graffiti and David continued his work in the ram pit.
Chris and Charlie continued with the clearance of the vegetation and they uncovered some marks carved into the stone (see pictures below). When the rain came, Charlie found shelter in an uxpected spot.
Dominic did some more weeding around the site, assisted by some visitors from Thornbury
We were treated to not one but two plimsoll bridge swings to let in 2 yachts!

Join us again in July!

See the photos June 2022

If you are interested, why not join us on Saturday 16th July, we would appreciate your help.

July 2022

On Saturday 18th the weather started hot and got hotter, but we achieved much.

John painted out graffiti in prominent places, whilst Chris and Charlie vanquished buddleia from Jessop's Lock and elsewhere.

Julian and Geoff used gas cutting gear to burn out the rusted stubs of two 1 inch diameter bolts from the south ram gland.
With little space in the pit this was a tricky job which involved heating the metal to well over a thousand degrees on a sweltering hot day.
To help us out Charlie erected a 'bedouin tent' over the work-area which prompted one of the Docks staff to joke that we weren't allowed to camp there overnight!

Actually, we were all so hot by 2.00pm that we decamped with the temperature registering 25 degrees C

See the photos July 2022

If you are interested, why not join us on Saturday 20th August, we would appreciate your help.

September 2022

Last Saturday we all agreed that the day was fun. We expected lots of visitors for Heritage Open Day, but very few turned up. However, we met a number of interesting people, and had some great conversations. Amongst our visitors was Paco who works for Balfour Beatty at Hinkley Point C. He thought he might be able to help scan the Swivel Bridge and produce an animation of it rotating! This is something we have dreamed of, so Paco, we look forward to working with you on this.

We tried out our new wheeled plate-lifter to expose the pit that contains the control-valve for BOB's hydraulic systems, see photo. Julian fitted the brass wear-plates he had prepared for the south pit ram-crosshead, and Geoff cleared the debris from under the Bridge, whilst our other Julian videoed our various operations.
We started work on the capstan beside Brunel's Lock, assumed to be the one used to close the caisson gate. David, Charlie, and Chris ingeniously used three trolley jacks to raise the rotating drum and inspect the inside, see photos.

It is a simple design and in good condition, but the top brass bearing is worn, so that the capstan can't turn properly at present. On our next workday we'll investigate the possibility of restoring it. Do join us on 15th October for that adventure if you can.

We shall need a woodworker to re-make the 3 inch thick oak packers on the capstan, so please contact Geoff Wallis on 0758-4060-806 or if you can help.

We were delighted to welcome Heather and Chris Shiell who kindly visited us from their home in Ireland. Heather has offered to help with the creation of new signage, so we look forward to working with you.

See the photos September 2022

If you are interested, why not join us on in October, we would appreciate your help.

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