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Conwy Suspension Bridge;Conwy Bridge;Telford Suspension Bridge, Former A55, Conwy

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Map ReferenceSH77NE
Grid ReferenceSH7849777494
Unitary (Local) AuthorityConwy
Old CountyCaernarfonshire
PeriodPost Medieval
Designed by Thomas Telford and constructed between 1822 and 1826, the Conwy Suspension Bridge has a span of 99.5m and carried the main north Wales coast road (A55; nprn 403728) across the River Conwy. The deck is suspended from two sets of four chains carried over battlemented towers. These feature a central archway over the road and machicolation, and were designed to reflect the architecture of the adjacent castle (nprn 121). The bridge has been restored and is still in use as a footbridge, having been superceded first by an adjacent road bridge of 1958 (nprn 85483) and a later road tunnel (nprn 409064) under the estuary. There is a bridgekeeper's lodge (nprn 26308) on the eastern approach.

RCAHMW, 17 December 2007.

Thomas Telford's suspension bridge, built between 1822 and 1826 to carry the London - Holyhead Road across the river Conwy, is one of the oldest of its kind still in existence to date. The bridge measures 99.5m in length, with a road deck suspended from on two sets of fours chains from two battlemented towers. In designing his bridge, Thomas Telford took inspiration from the adjacent Conwy Castle and town walls so that the modern bridge would blend in harmoniously with the Norman architecture dominating the site. The bridge keeper's single-room lodge likewise copies the Norman style of the castle. Before granting passage, this keeper would collect a toll stipulated by the mode of travel on foot, horse or in a carriage. The original wooden deck was replaced by an iron roadway in 1896, and in 1904 a pedestrian walkway was temporarily added to the north side of the bridge.

Whereas the bridge formerly allowed horse carriages safe passage across the river, since the building of the new road bridge in 1958 it has been used only for pedestrian traffic. In 1965 it came under the care of the National Trust, and in 1981 the Toll Keepers cottage was listed as Grade I by Cadw.

Travelling through Wales shortly after the suspension bridge was finished, its elegant design reminded the French writer Basil-Joseph Ducos of fishing nets hung up to dry in the wind and he felt quite transported into a fairy tale.

Record updated as part of the AHRC-funded project 'Journey to the Past: Wales in historic travel writing from France and Germany'.
R. Singer (Bangor University) and S. Fielding (RCAHMW), 2017.
application/pdfETW - European Travellers to Wales ProjectDescription of a visit to Conwy Suspension Bridge by Arthur d'Arcis from 'Voyage au nord du pays de Galles' (c.1866). Text available in Welsh, English, French and German. Produced through the European Travellers to Wales project.
application/mswordETW - European Travellers to Wales ProjectArchive coversheet relating to the Conwy Suspension Bridge gigapan project, carried out by Sue Fielding and Rita Singer, July 2017.