On 8th December 2014, the Clifton Suspension Bridge celebrates 150 years since its grand opening. In celebration of this, we are planning a number of events to run throughout the year.
If you would like to know more about what was happening 150 years ago, you can read all about it in the following document: 1864 - Key events in the History of the Bridge (PDF, 136KB)
Clifton Toll Booth, Clifton Suspension Bridge
5th April - 2nd November
FREE GUIDED TOURS are provided for the public on Bank Holidays and Saturday and Sunday afternoons from Easter Saturday to the end of October.
Meet at 3.00pm at the toll booth at the Clifton end of the Bridge where you will spot a guide in an orange jacket.
There is no need to book - just turn up and allow one hour for the tour and remember you'll be outside so dress for the weather! (Please note these free tours are intended for individuals and small family groups; they are not suitable for coach tours or for large organised groups for whom separate arrangements apply.)
150 Years Celebration Competition
Closing Date: Saturday 20th September 5pm
John Lewis and the Clifton Suspension Bridge are both 150 years old this year. Joining forces to celebrate our unique histories and success, we would like to offer you the chance to take part in a competition to win some great prizes by capturing the essence of the suspension bridge using what ever art form you choose.
Finalists artwork will be exhibited in the Place to Eat Restaurant at John Lewis Cribbs Causeway during October.
5yrs -10yrs £30.00 John Lewis Gift Voucher
11yrs -14yrs £50.00 John Lewis Gift Voucher
15yrs -18yrs £75.00 John Lewis Gift Voucher
18+ - £100.00 John Lewis Gift Voucher
Bridge 150! Festival
The Architecture Centre - Various Locations
12 July - 9 December
December 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of Bristol’s world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge – one of Brunel’s greatest engineering achievements. Inspired by this anniversary, Bridge150! presents 150 days of exciting activities to inspire, inform and involve everyone in the art and science of engineering. Structural engineers are working with the Architecture Centre team to co-curate the Festival, sharing their creativity and expertise to inspire the Brunels of tomorrow.
A major exhibition at the Architecture Centre in October and November will reveal the stories behind some of today’s most innovative bridges and links these with Brunel’s vision and achievements. Family activities, walks, talks and a Festival blog will be complemented by schools activities and resources.
As Bristol prepares for European Green Capital 2015, the Festival will also encourage debate about the contribution engineering can make to creating a more sustainable future.
Check the Architecture Centre events pages for regular updates.
Bridge 150! is supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Fund.
Bristol Model Engineering and Hobbies Exhibition
The Leisure Centre, Thornbury, Near Bristol, BS35 3JB
15th, 16th & 17th August - Fri 10am - 6pm, Sat 10am - 5pm, Sun 10am - 4pm
Adult £9.50 Senior £9.00 Junior £4.00 Family £23.00 (2+3), Accompanied children under 16 free on Sunday
3 Day and advance tickets available, Free Parking
Every year the Bristol Society of Model engineers puts on a grand exhibition visited by thousands of people. The exhibition is an excellent way to see the diverse collections of models that are made around the UK and the world. There are hundreds of models on display along with demonstrations and a range of top class traders. This year the display will include a model of the Clifton Suspension Bridge restored by the Society in celebration of the 150th anniversary.
For further information please visit www.bristolmodelengineers.co.uk or call 0117 405 8580
Evening Art Workshop for Adult Learners
Clifton Suspension Bridge (Burwalls House), Bridge Road, Leigh Woods, BS8 3PA
Wednesdays 10th, 17th and 24th September, 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Whatever your level, come and try your hand with pastels, pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, watercolour or mixed media on this three week evening course. Expert tuition provided by established local artist and tutor, William Smith.
"A knowledagble, enthusiastic tutor - I would have paid to do this!"
"A laid back relaxed atmosphere."
Book here for all three sessions - or choose those you can attend.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Saturday 13th September, 10:00 - 4:00
Visit us on Doors Open Day and speak to our Explainers, who will be stationed on the bridge in orange high-vis jackets. Each Explainer will tell you a different story about the hidden history of the bridge or the parts which are hidden from view. Learn about the arguements, riots and finiancial problems which meant it took 33 years to build, find out how the bridge was designed and constructed and how it works - and hear some of the famous stories about its visitors.
Visitor Information Centre, Clifton Suspension Bridge, BS8 3PA
Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September, 4.00pm - 4.40pm
£4 adults, £2 (under 12s)
“Perhaps more common a sight than a truly wild animal, is a luridly dressed hiker.”
Join Alexander Stevenson for an unusual walking tour of Clifton Suspension Bridge, exploring what we mean by ‘wild’. At the point where city meets countryside, bear witness to unusual creatures in the distant landscape.
Ticket includes free telescope and an audio copy of the performance. Dress in hiking gear with as much neon and fluorescent colour as possible. Meet at the Visitor Information Centre.
Clifton Toll Booth, Clifton Suspension Bridge
Saturday 20th September, 11:00 - 12:00 and 2:30 - 3:30
FREE, Booking Recommended
Join the IsamBards for a fact filled poetry tour of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Beginning at the Clifton Toll Booth, you'll be treated to some brand new poems composed especially for this event, along with some old favourites and some historical context provided by the bridge's own tour guides.
The tour will end in the Visitor Centre, where there will be a chance to enjoy a 15 minute poetry performance and an opportunity to pick up a souvenir booklet containing the poems performed on the day - plus others from the IsamBards' Brunel back catalogue.
Discover Clifton Village
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th September
As Brunel’s famous Suspension Bridge celebrates its 150th birthday later this year, BID Clifton Village is inviting people to explore its birthplace in a new three day event, Discover Clifton Village. The village’s diverse range of shops, restaurants and businesses will come together to showcase one of Bristol’s most beautiful suburbs with a weekend of music, entertainment and in-store events.
Stroll around the beautiful Georgian architecture, pick a new autumn/winter wardrobe with your very own personal shopper, watch live illustrative art in the shop window of Made, tantalise your taste buds with a range of cheese and wine tastings and try your hand at pottery painting in the Mall Gardens. You can also enjoy a variety of music, street entertainment and a pop-up driving range, plus lots of activities for children and families.
The Bridge: Spanning Art and Science
The Architecture Centre, Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA
Wednesday 1 October - Sunday 16 November 2014
Wednesday to Friday, 11am – 5pm , Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 5pm
From Isambard to the Eye – discover the art and science behind the creation of some of the world’s most fascinating structures in this major exhibition, part of the Architecture Centre’s Bridge 150! Festival.
As Bristol celebrates the 150th anniversary of Brunel’s world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, this exhibition looks at the stories behind the creation of some of today’s most innovative structures and links these to Brunel’s vision and achievements. The exhibition will include audio-visual interviews with engineers; models, photographs and drawings; interactive family activities; and information resources.
Produced in collaboration with the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust and supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Fund.
Free Creative Writing Course
Burwalls House, Leigh Woods, BS8 3PA
Tuesdays 7th, 14th & 21st October, 7pm – 9pm
An introduction to poetry, creative prose and short story writing using the spectacular Clifton Suspension Bridge as inspiration.
Published author Glenn Carmichael will provide simple exercises, examples and lots of encouragement to inspire all levels from beginner to professional. Explore your creativity and write!
Click here to book - or contact our CLV Officer on 0770 360 9277
The Great Debate: Who Owns Bridge Design? Engineers vs Architects
Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, Avon BS1 4QA
Wednesday 8 October, 18:30
£6/£4 - Booking: 0117 917 2300
Since the 1990s architects have been increasingly involved in bridge design, but where has this left the engineer, and does it matter? Find out how engineers and architects feel about their changing roles and the effect it has on bridge design. Chaired by Tanya Ross (Buro Happold) and featuring Jim Eyre, Julia Elton, Hugh Pearman and Ian Firth – the gloves are off for what promises to be a lively debate!
17 October - 2 November
The national 2014 FAMILY ARTS FESTIVALis back for another half term of theatre, art, music, dance, literature, film, storytelling and more. The Festival brings the arts alive for families with many FREE EVENTS across the city during half term 17 October - 2 November.
The theme for this year’s Bristol Family Arts Festival is ‘connected city’, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, as well as highlighting the importance of bringing Bristol families together. This celebration of quality family arts events is the perfect opportunity for families of all ages to enjoy the arts.
See www.familyartsfestival.com for more information.
Bridging Disciplines (Lecture and discussion)
The Architecture Centre, Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA
Thursday 23 October, 18:30
£8/£6, including refreshments
Join us for an evening with leading engineer Alan Baxter as he discusses other dimensions of
engineering. Sharing the stage with architects Martin Knight and Renato Benedetti, this trio
of designers will discuss their collaborative approach to bridge design, from the resolution
of Knight Architects’ beautifully conceived structures to the interest in urbanism and place
making underpinning the inspired bridges of McDowell + Benedetti.
150th Anniversary Concert
Victoria Rooms, Queen's Rd, Bristol BS8 1SA
Saturday 22nd November (Time TBC)
New Bristol Sinfonia will mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the bridge with a special concert featuring a new composition by Chris Williams, winner of a competition for post-graduate composers to create a new piece of music inspired by the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
The competition attracted entries from postgraduate music students from across the country who each submitted 2-3 of their recent compositions as a portfolio of their work. The judges were the composer Eleanor Alberga; John Pickard, professor of composition at Bristol University; and the new Musical Director of NBS, Jonathan Lo.
NBS is Bristol's most dynamic and prestigious symphony orchestra. Founded in 1997 and directed, for the last 10 years by James Lowe, they have also worked with conductors such as Jason Lai and Geoffrey Paterson, performing music from the late 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
Bristol Museums and Art Gallery Winter Lecture series
Francis Greenacre: The Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Avon Gorge: a visual history of the site and of the bridge
Tyndall Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol, BS8 1TL
Thursday 4th December, 7.30pm
Exploring the extraordinary variety of alternative designs and architectural styles proposed by Brunel himself and by other engineers, architects and amateurs; the laying of the foundation stone; dramatic photographs of the bridge's construction and of its opening 150 years ago on 8th December 1864, and more recent images of the bridge as the emblem of Bristol.