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The Ceremony of Laying the Foundation Stone of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, 1836

Photo credit: Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives

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The ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the suspension bridge took place in June 1831, after a public breakfast, when a group of invited guests gathered at the bridge construction site on Clifton Down and formed a circle around a pile of stones. Engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel entered the circle, picked up a stone and handed it to Lady Elton, who gave a short speech. A volley of cannon fire followed and strains of the National Anthem are reported to have floated up from the Avon Gorge below.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery





oil on canvas


H 86 x W 128 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Mr and Mrs W. S. Gildersleeve, 1927

Work type



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Normally on display at

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Queens Road, Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RL England

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