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ePetition details

Don't Move Brunel's Swivel Bridge

We the undersigned Ask Bristol City Council to refuse Planning Permission to remove the Brunel Swivel Bridge to Albion Dockyard. We ask the Council to restore and display Brunel’s Lock and Bridge, and the other historic features in the Western Harbour area, to form the focus of the new development.

Brunel’s Lock and Swivel Bridge are iconic parts of the Floating Harbour. They are vital, visually interesting, evidence of Bristol’s maritime history, part of the City’s identity, and although currently neglected, are much loved by local people.

The structures are unique survivals which demonstrate Brunel’s originality and the expertise of early Victorian craftsmen, recognized by Grade 2* Listing, putting them in the top 6 % of historic buildings in the Country.

The Western Harbour Development offers the opportunity of restoring these heritage ‘gems’ and making them the focus of the area. Brunel’s Lock can be freed of silt by allowing water to flow through under control, and Brunel’s Swivel Bridge can be restored to provide a much-needed low-level crossing for pedestrians, dismounted cyclists, and people with restricted mobility.

With the proposed new flood defences in place the Bridge will be protected. Volunteers have already returned the structure to rotating condition, and plans are in place to restore the Bridge to full working order.

However, Bristol City has accepted in principle a proposal by the SS Great Britain to relocate the Swivel Bridge to Albion Dockyard where it would be restored and cared for, but out of its context and not free to view. The removal operation would be costly, and risky for the aged structure.

If the Bridge is removed from is present site there is less reason to desilt and display Brunel’s Lock or conserve the Replica bridge which are both Grade 2* Listed structures. The many other heritage assets in the area could then also be lost.

The heritage structures in Cumberland Basin tell a story dating back 200 years and beyond. Restored and displayed, the would be a great asset to Bristol, and the envy of many European cities. 

For more information about the bridge work being carried out by volunteers to restore it see

Started by: John Willis (The Brunel Swivel Bridge Group)

This ePetition ran from 29/05/2023 to 10/12/2023 and has now finished.

368 people signed this ePetition.