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Conwy Suspension Bridge (Pont Grog Conwy)

Conwy Suspension Bridge (Pont Grog Conwy)

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 12, 2018

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Conwy: Conwy, Wales (Cymru): United Kingdom
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1826 By Builder/Contractor: William Hazledine of Shrewsbury, England and Engineer/Design: Thomas Telford
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
326.0 Feet (99.4 Meters)
Structure Length
326.0 Feet (99.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

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Bridge Documentation

Not only is this suspension bridge noted for retaining its original eyebar chains, its setting is unique next to Castle Conwy and two other historic bridges: the Conwy Railway Bridge, and the Conwy Road Bridge. Beautiful views of all three bridges can be had from Castle Conwy. Indeed this bridge is unique as its backstay chains pass through the walls to the inside of Castle Conwy, with the anchorages at that end of the bridge concealed within the castle.

The fact that this bridge retains its original eyebar chains sets it apart from other bridges such as the Menai Bridge. Newer cables were added above the original eyebar chains, however the chains appear to be largely unaltered. Thus this bridge illustrates very well the design of early suspension bridges. It is also noted as a work by the famous engineer Thomas Telford.

The lattice railing on this bridge is not original, but is riveted with bolted alterations. The railing also appears to provide a function as a stiffening girder to some extent.

A beautiful bridgehouse (toll-takers house) is present at the east end of the bridge. The bridge is owned and maintained by the National Trust today.

The architectural design of the bridge and toll-takers house were designed to harmonize with Castle Conwy.

Above: Historical photo showing bridge ca. 1840. The railway bridge had not yet been built at this time. Note that the railing/stiffening girders are different than those seen today.

Official Heritage Listing Information and Findings

Listed At: Grade I


Reference Number: 3234

In 1821 £41,000 of public money was made available for a bridge across the River Conwy, part of the improvements to the route between Chester and Holyhead. The bridge was begun in 1822 and was completed in 1826 at a cost of £51,000. Its engineer was Thomas Telford, with William Provis acting as site engineer. Its design, one of the earliest surviving suspension bridges, closely resembles that of Telford's contemporary Menai Bridge, but its castellated towers were intended to harmonise with the castle, and in overall effect, the bridge resembles a giant drawbridge. The original wood-block deck was replaced by an iron-plated roadway in the late C19. In 1903 the bridge was strengthened by adding wire cables above the original chains, and a footway 6-feet wide was added on the N side in 1904. The bridge, however, retains its original chains, probably from Upton in Shropshire, the forge of William Hazeldine, the chief supplier of ironwork to Thomas Telford. The bridge closed to traffic in 1958, when the adjacent Conway Bridge opened, and since 1965 it has been owned by The National Trust. A new galvanised balustrade was added in the last decade of the C20.

A suspension bridge with castellated towers. Each is composed of a pair of round turrets, with blind loops, spanning a segmental arch, and false machicolations to an embattled parapet. The outer faces have rebuilt gas lamps above the arches. The deck is suspended from 4 tiers of original chains, with a 5th upper tier added later. On the E side these are anchored to a freestone and concrete plinth. On the W side they are anchored to the base of the castle E barbican and bedrock. The deck is laid with tarmac and has a painted balustrade of diamond-lattice ironwork. The turrets and abutments are of rock-faced stone below the deck. On the N (seaward) side is a corbelled walkway around the turrets at deck level, added in 1904. On the S (landward) side similar walkways have been altered by providing access to viewing platforms, which are integral with the main abutments. On the W (castle) side the abutments curve out to round terminal piers with stepped conical caps at parapet level. The parapet on each side has a round pier with conical cap next to the main tower. On the NW side the parapet continues a short distance, and has a gap infilled with wrought-iron diamond latticework similar to the main bridge. The E abutment is similar. On the SE side the wall is extended to abut to the later railway bridge. On the NE side a retaining wall and parapet continue beyond the terminal pier. This section incorporates 2 corbelled round piers with conical caps, spanned by diamond-lattice ironwork balustrade. Abutting the N side of the bridge are low river walls integral with the Conway Bridge of 1958.


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