Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Brunel's bridge 'should stay in Portsmouth birthplace'

Rediscovered Brunel bridge Image copyright Celia Clark
Image caption The bridge was removed from Paddington station during regeneration works

A cast-iron bridge designed by engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel should be installed in Portsmouth, the city of his birth, campaigners say.

The canal bridge has been at the city's Fort Cumberland since being removed from Paddington in London in 2004.

Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust (HBPT) says the 100ft-long (30m) structure, owned by Historic England, would make an "excellent attraction".

Historic England is expected to make a decision on its future next month.

The modular bridge, made of interlocking parts, was rediscovered during regeneration work at Paddington railway station before being dismantled and transported to Portsmouth on 20 lorries at a cost of about £500,000.

'Important discovery'

Relocating and restoring the bridge, which dates back to 1838, is expected to cost a further £2m, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

HBPT chairman Charlie Fraser-Fleming said: "It is the only one of its kind in the world.

"It was such an important discovery. Brunel was pioneering new techniques that had not been done before. It all fits together, it's ingenious.

"It would definitely bring people into Portsmouth, it would be an excellent attraction."

Portsmouth City Council deputy leader Steve Pitt said: "Of course I would like to see it in Portsmouth but it's got to make sense.

"It needs a large area and these kind of things need an awful lot of money so some kind of funding would need to be in place."

Brunel - one of the leading figures of the industrial revolution - was born in Britain Street, Portsea, in 1806.

The property was demolished but there are two memorial plaques in the city - one in Britain Street and the other in St George's Square.

Image copyright Celia Clark
Image caption The removal of bricks revealed the bridge was built by Brunel in 1838

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites