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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 06:58 GMT 07:58 UK
Footbridge plan for Brunel bridge
Artist's impression of how the bridge will look
The bridge will span the canal at Paddington
Plans to reconstruct an historic Brunel iron bridge near where it was uncovered two years ago have been unveiled.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel's creation was hidden within a modern brick road bridge over the Grand Union Canal near Paddington Station, central London.

The structure, the earliest of eight surviving Brunel iron bridges in England, was discovered a week before it was due to be bulldozed.

English Heritage is storing it until 3.5m needed to restore it is raised.

It had been hoped the bridge could be reconstructed in time for celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Brunel's birth, this year.

Brunel, the son of a French engineer, is best known for the network of railway tunnels and various bridges he built including the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol.

Our plan is to see it continue as a working bridge to be used and enjoyed by local communities
Steven Wakefield-Wylde, British Waterways

British Waterways hopes to install the bridge as a public footbridge across the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal next to Harrow Road.

Steven Wakefield-Wylde of British Waterways, said: "This is a unique bridge and we want to restore it close to where Brunel first built it.

"Our plan is to see it continue as a working bridge to be used and enjoyed by local communities, and provide an important link to the past in a fast-changing area."

Designs and records

Plans to rescue the bridge were put into action after English Heritage's Dr Steven Brindle found Brunel's surviving notebooks.

He found the Victorian engineer's designs and records of load testing for the cast-iron beams of a Paddington canal bridge, dating from 1838.

Letters about the bridge, from Brunel to the Grand Junction Canal Company, were also found, but it was not known if the structure still existed.

It was finally found, surviving as the Bishops Bridge, just a week before it was due to be demolished as part of the Paddington Bridge Project.

Council unveils Brunel 200 events
15 Mar 06 |  Hampshire
Hidden Brunel bridge is rescued
03 Mar 04 |  London
Brunel's forgotten masterpiece
13 Aug 02 |  England


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