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Authority record

Wood, Edward Henry, bridge labourer

  • Person

Wood worked as a labourer for the Clifton Suspension Bridge Company. When conscription was introduced during the First World War, letters of exemption were sent to try and keep Wood stationed at the bridge. In his tribunal application, one of the reasons Wood offered was needing to look after his mother. She was a widowed woman with three of her children already fighting overseas; one of them being held prisoner in Germany. The Clifton Suspension Bridge Company also documented reasons for keeping Wood at the bridge writing: “...it is in the national interest that the Bridge and its safety for traffic should be maintained because it largely ministers to war requirements providing free passage for soldiers”. They estimated that 100,000 soldiers had crossed the bridge since the start of the war and pointed out that military vehicles were constantly using the bridge. The consultant engineer, Howard Humphreys wrote in 1917: "I trust that the Bristol Tribunal will continue to give Wood temporary exemption it is vitally necessary that one man accustomed to working at great heights should be constantly on the bridge. It must be remembered that portions of the bridge are nearly 80 years old and constant inspection is necessary and Wood's knowledge, gained by years of experience, is invaluable." Despite their efforts, Wood was drafted for the war. However, afterwards he returned to work at the bridge.

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