Climbing Great Buildings
Episode 9: Clifton Suspension Bridge
Dr Jonathan Foyle, architectural historian and novice climber, scales Britain's most iconic structures to reveal the buildings' secrets and tell the story of how our architecture and construction have developed over 1,000 years.
The next step of Jonathan's journey takes him to the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. Begun in 1835 by the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel when he was only 24 years old, it is one of the greatest feats of Victorian engineering in the world.
With unprecedented access to the bridge, aided by champion climber Lucy Creamer, Jonathan scales all over to the bridge to investigate the innovations and techniques used to build this incredible structure inspired by £1000 from a wine importer.
Jonathan climbs over 300 feet to investigate the revolutionary design and perches atop the massive and revolutionary chains that make it all possible. He descends 35 feet to discover Brunel's massive secret chambers in the towers that remained undiscovered until 2002, and he hangs exposed 245 feet above the river Avon to reveal the Victorian engineering which prevents disaster by expanding and contracting, just as Brunel devised. Show less