The bridges with which this lecture is most concerned have already been described in two published papers1,2. The factual information given there cannot all be repeated now, but some new facts are included in the brief narratives below. The main purpose is to sketch the context in which the bridges were designed and built, particularly the contemporary growth of quantitative ethods of design and analysis, and use of such methods for the largest bridges in Great Britain. It was such developments at rompted Sutherland’s designation of the years 1820–1850 as a period of ‘great creativity and unmatched opportunity’ for structural engineers, and also as ‘years of innovation and testing’3. The building of the first bridges to be described here sits astride the start of that period and all that this lecture deals with were finished before its end.
Ted Ruddock BA, MAI, MSc (Eng), MICE