Britains Greatest Bridges: Series 1
Engineer Rob Bell sets out on a journey to discover how six of Britain’s most iconic bridges were designed, and reveals the sweat, sacrifice and scandals that went into their construction.
Part 1: The Forth Rail Bridge
Engineer Rob Bell sets out on a journey to discover how six of Britain’s most stunning bridges were designed and built. Completed in 1890, the Forth Rail Bridge now carries around 200 trains every day. The last of the great Victorian engineering triumphs, it has grown to symbolise Scotland as much as Edinburgh Castle, bagpipes or kilts. But, as Rob learns, this incredible engineering achievement was born from the tragedy of the 1879 Tay Bridge disaster, and 73 deaths were connected with its construction and immediate aftermath.
Part 2: The Tyne Bridge
Engineer Rob Bell tells the story of the design and construction of six of Britain’s most iconic bridges. Built partly as a lifeline to keep shipbuilders employed and their skills alive during the dark days of the 1920s recession, the Tyne Bridge is not just an icon to Geordies – many believe that it was the inspiration for the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Part 3: Tower Bridge
For years, London’s East End was denied a new bridge because of the need to guarantee passage of ships up and down the Thames. For years, the greatest engineers of the age hunted for a design that would keep both road and water traffic moving. As Rob Bell explains, the solution came from architect Horace Jones, whose revolutionary design, with its thousand-tonne opening sections, was powered by nothing more than water. Rob also explains the bridge was lucky to survive the Second World War, having been a target for German V-1 flying bombs.
Part 4: The Britannia Bridge
Rob Bells offers an insight into the history, design and building process of the Britannia Bridge and the innovative use of iron by civil engineer Robert Stephenson and his team.
Part 5: The Clifton Suspension Bridge
Engineer Rob Bell tells the story behind the design and construction of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s famous bridge over the picturesque Avon gorge at Bristol, and discovers that some people question whether it was entirely the product of his own devising. The bridge remained unfinished in Brunel’s lifetime, but when he died in 1859; his friends decided that the bridge should be completed as a memorial, using the chains from another of his suspension bridges that was being demolished.
Part 6: The Humber Bridge
Rob Bell tells the story of the design and construction of six of Britain’s most iconic bridges. For 17 years from 1981 to 1998, the Humber Bridge was the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world, and many consider it to be Britain’s most beautiful. Rob Bell discovers the facts about its ground-breaking construction, why it took so long to build and how it changed the lives of the people of Hull and Grimsby.