Brunel Swivel BridgeBrunel's Other Bridge

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Brunel Swivel Bridge Project 2024

Volunteer Workdays

Workdays for 2024 as follows:

Please check the website for late changes. 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. We provide free tea and coffee, so why not bring a picnic lunch? 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 2024

We plan to continue restoration of the Bridge and other heritage structures nearby, and maintain the 'Tongue' area.

March 2024

'I am amazed and delighted at the distance folk travel to help out on our workdays' said honary project manager Geoff Wallis. Jeff Beckett regularly comes to Bristol from Cambridgeshire to support Bristol City and spends the morning volunteering with us, and Chris regularly drives from Warminster.
Today Nicki came from East Anglia to visit a friend and spent half the day working with local ace-photographer Rupert Martin cleaning down the 'dangerous' side of the Bridge beside the Dock. Wearing a safety harness and lifejacket they cleaned 5m of the side span using a mystery liquid to remove lichen. If you want to know what it is, come along on 20th April and find out!

Nicki and Rupert described their experience as 'strangely satisfying'. Not surprising because it does look very good! Thank you folks.

Geoff and Charlie removed the middle strip of felt, south side and fitted a new one which also looks good. Reece cleared vegetation from Jessop Lock wall, whilst Chris did amazing work power-sanding and repainting the turntable ring in a very tight space under the bridge, and then strimmed. Charlie lassoed & removed a scaffold board thrown by vandals into Brunel's Lock and then measured the slope of silt. He is doing some calculations to verify the feasibility of sluicing out the silt naturally.

See the photos March 2024

April 2024

Was it the warm sun, warm welcome, free beverages or getting to grips with Brunel that brought out our volunteers in force? Whatever it was, we achieved a lot. Reece, Richard and Andy cleared graffiti, and gardened, whilst Nicki and John scoured the discoloured south side of BOB clean ready for painting in May, weather-permitting.

Chris continued the tricky and tiring task of mechanically sanding the turntable ring under the deck, and repainting it. Geoff, Julian and Ian removed another old run of felt from the 'chicken shed' (protective roof) and fitted a replacement sheet. Getting these sheets properly aligned and glued down, and folding the corners neatly is not easy, but was achieved to a high standard, and we are halfway to completion now.

Charlie and Bob worked together surveying the many historic features around the Tongue to add to Bob's excellent drawings, and Charlie progressed his many projects, whilst also assisting Chris with his underground surveys using an amazing drain camera. Well done and thank you everyone, we are making a difference to the heritage of the Tongue,..... as well as enjoying ourselves.

See the photos April 2024

June 2024

Geoff writes
I have concluded that our volunteers turn out in increasing numbers for two main reasons:

1) Friendship.
We all get on really well together and value each other's friendship. Several of us cruised together on the PS Waverley, and a trip to Flat Holm is planned. At today's workday a visitor stopped to read our sign-board, and Nicki immediately engaged him in conversation. Before long I overheard him tell Nicki, 'Your kind welcome to Bristol has made the two hour train journey from Birmingham to all worthwhile, thank you !.

And when one of our Group is hurting we all hurt. Charlie was in hospital in Plymouth last week with appendicitis, and was very poorly. This week he was transferred to the BRI (without his appendix) and has just finished a course of antibiotics, so we were delighted to welcome him and his wonderfully supportive family to site this afternoon. Charlie must be feeling better as he spent a happy hour surveying silt-levels in Brunel's Lock. assisted and cared for by Nicki. Charlie, we wish you a fast and full recovery. and a great 21st birthday on 21st June !

2) Love of our heritage.
Everyone loves doing their bit to care for the historic features on and around the Tongue. Today Julian and Geoff installed the penultimate sheet of felt on the 'temporary' roof, which will be completed next month. Bob surveyed the Dock-Master's office for his drawings, Martin weeded Jessop's Lock walls, and Chris strimmed rampant weeds, so the area now looks tidy. Andy and Nicki continued to clean the north face of the Swivel Bridge, wearing safety-harness and life-jacket, so that is now beginning to look good too. John cleaned ironwork and worked with Geoff to swap the BOB signs on the sides of the Bridge, so that the one in best condition is now more visible. Ian did great work needle-gunning and painting the Brunel Lock capsta, ready for fitting new timber strakes.

Do come and join the fun on Saturday July 13th Geoff

See the photos June 2024