Clifton and Hotwells
Improvement Society (CHIS)

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CHIS Brunel Swivel Bridge Project

Do look at Brunel's Other Bridge (new website created 26 Jan 2014). This holds far more information and holds the latest progress.
Brunel Swivel Bridge
Brunel Swivel Bridge, 1876 replica in foreground
Brunel Swivel Bridge
Brunel Swivel Bridge
Brunel Swivel Bridge
Brunel Swivel Bridge
Brunel Swivel Bridge
Brunel Swivel Bridge
Details of the following will be found below:


The SWIVEL BRIDGE is Brunel's first large wrought iron opening bridge, it is far older than the Suspension Bridge, and is Bristol's only abandoned Brunel structure. The Bridge is listed Grade 2* and is on English Heritage's Buildings at Risk Register. The bridge rotates on four fixed wheels in contact with a solid ring under the bridge. The bridge was turned by a hydraulic mechanism of twin rams located in pits that are connected to a turning ring under the bridge via a substantial wire cable. The original turning mechanism prior to conversion to hydraulic machinery was a hand turned crank similar to that used on old train turntables. The pistons and chains are still in position. The original hydraulic system ran on fresh water supplied from a pressurised water system sited in Underfall Yard.

Key historical points may be summarised as follows:

This project has been supported by CHIS for many years. We now have BIAS, AIBT and the Hotwells and Cliftonwood Society to help as well and do some dirty work. The initial refurbishment project is being led by Geoff Wallis of Dorothea Restorations (


You can make a donation by sending a cheque payable to
Avon Industrial Buildings Trust to:
The Treasurer, Thatched Wells, Duckhole, Thornbury, BS35 1LD.

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


Work for 2014

Brunel's Other Bridge holds the latest photos
Brunel Swivel Bridge
Brunel Swivel Bridge getting lifted higher and higher

Work PHASE A Preparation and Basic Conservation by Volunteers

May 2013:
Aims: Draft Schedule of WorkIt is estimated this will take a work-party of six volunteers 5-6 days to complete. Contact Maggie Shapland ( if you wish to help.


Progress before 2013

More information

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