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Menai Suspension Bridge
Street: Holyhead Road Grade: I
Name/Number: Menai Suspension Bridge
Date first listed: 27 May 1949
Other Resources:
2 reproduced articles from local papers in 1826:
The Opening of the Menai Suspension Bridge from the North Wales Gazette of 2nd February 1826. & A Report in the Chester Chronicle on February 3rd 1826 outlining the opening of the bridge.
An imaginary aquatint view of the Menai Bridge as never built, by Taylor, 1818

Recommended External Link: Project Menai (Menai Bridge Community Heritage Trust)


Spanning the Menai Straits to W of the city. Built 1818 to 1826 by Thomas Telford. This renowned bridge completed the London to Holyhead Turnpike Road. The site was chosen because of its steep banks enabling the erection of a high bridge to satisfy the Admiralty's requirements. The construction was a development of Telford's own design for an unexecuted bridge over the Mersey and that by Captain Brown for a bridge over the Tweed. Opened 30 January 1826 - 100ft high, 28ft wide roadway and with a single suspended span of 579ft; 130ft longer than any previously built bridge. Reconstructed 1938-40 by Sir Alexander Gibb.

Coursed rubble Penmon masonry with ashlar facings to the tapered suspension towers or 'pyramids' from which the deck is hung on a system of chains (originally 16 iron, now steel) with pins. These are carried down at either end to a point deep into the rock. 4 arches to Anglesey side and 3 to Bangor side, over tapered piers; voussoirs, impost bands and bracket cornice above. The later metal pedestrian walkways are further bracketed out; originally there was just the narrow central pavement. Each carriageway passes under the towers through semicircular arched openings, matched above by paired blind recesses over inscribed tablets. The handrails continue as far as the low tapered piers with pyramidal caps at each end and on the mainland side trellised railings continue to either side and sweep round to terminate in similar piers with panelled recesses.

At the mainland end the suspending members are taken into the former Toll House, a low 3-storey classical ashlar faced building with channelled rustication to ground floor. 3-bay front facing bridge with broad and taller end pilasters and arched entries; central bay advanced and taller and flanking bays have 12-pane sash windows below blind recessed panels; arched openings to ground floor 'loggia”. 2-bay side elevations with similar detail. The building ramps down at rear which is part modernised. Later toll houses were built at either end of the bridge.

References: S Lewis, "A Topographical Dictionary of Wales", vol 1 (1842). "
LTC Rolt, T Telford, “Thomas Telford", (1958), p 124-141.
"Atlas to the Life of Thomas Telford, Civil Engineer containing eighty three copper plates illustrative of his professional labours. (1838)"

 


Early Aerial View of the Bridge and its environs

Science and Society Picture Library

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