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Piece of iron bar used as suspended traveller

  • GB 3493 079
  • Item
  • 1836

This is a piece of the second iron bar that was part of Brunel's suspended traveller, a basket car which hung from an iron bar 305 m (1,000 ft) long suspended across the gorge. It was erected in August 1836 to enable people and materials to cross the gorge during the initial construction of the bridge.
The first bar was dropped during its erection, causing it to kink. Following an incident on 27th August 1836, the bar was taken down and replaced. Brunel ordered a new, thicker bar 5 cm (2") in diameter to be made and within four weeks it had been installed on site. By 27th September 1836, Brunel made the first successful crossing accompanied by the son of Captain Christopher Claxton, Secretary of the Bridge Committee. While free for workmen to cross on business, the public were charged and it became a thrilling attraction as well as a source of income for the company. In 1853 - when the original ironwork of the bridge was sold off - the bar was taken down and parts of it were cut up and kept as souvenirs.

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