The new Visitor Centre at Clifton Suspension Bridge will be opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal on June 1st.
The purpose built visitor facility tells the story of the iconic Bridge which is celebrating its 150th birthday this year.
The Centre is part of the £1.9 million Bridge Yard development in Leigh Woods which also included improved bridge maintenance facilities. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the new centre incorporates an exhibition, education space and shop over 320 square metres on two floors. Displays researched and developed by staff and volunteers at the bridge are complemented by film, images, hands-on exhibits and historic artefacts – some of which have been in storage since the Bridge House Visitor Centre closed eight years ago.
Chris Booy, Chairman of the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust, said he couldn’t think of a better way to mark the historic anniversary than to have Princess Anne officially open the new Visitor Centre and bring the history of the bridge back to life.
He added: “This remarkable bridge is a powerful symbol for Bristol and has such an important place in the hearts of local people. The new centre provides an opportunity for visitors of all ages and backgrounds to explore ‘the ornament of Bristol’ and discover the life and legacy of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.”
Visitor Services Manager Laura Hilton said: “The development of new facilities for schools and groups is a major step forward as we will at last be able to provide workshops and activity sessions on site, extending our formal and informal education programmes and inspiring a new generation of engineers.”
During her visit, Princess Anne will meet students from Merchant’s Academy participating in the ‘Future Brunels’ scheme as well as trustees, staff and volunteers from the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust and representatives from the design team and contractors responsible for creating and fitting out the new building.