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interest. In about eighty years it had increased tenfold ; and the people of Bristol had their attention again drawn to the scheme. A public subscription was started, which in 1836 had brought up the available funds to £45,000. This being about half the amount requisite, on the lowest estimate, for a stone bridge, an Act of Parliament was obtained granting powers to use iron instead. Plans were advertised for, and that of the late Mr. Brunel was adopted. The work was commenced August 27, 1836, and proceeded with till 1843, when it came to a pause for want of funds. Nothing further was accomplished till 1861, when, under the auspices of a limited liability company, operations were resumed. The iron-work of the old Hungerford Suspension Bridge was acquired on favourable terms, and the carrying out of the original plan was proceeded with energetically. It was completed and opened on December 8, 1864. The design, as has been stated, was by the late I. K. Brunel, Esq.; the engineers were Messrs. J. Hawkshaw and W. H. Barlow; the contractors, Messrs. Cochrane and Co. of Dudley ; and the superintendent, Thomas Airey, Esq.
The span of the bridge is 702 feet 3 inches. There are only four bridges in the world which excel that of Clifton in the length of a single span,-two over the Niagara, of 1040 and 798 feet respectively; one over the Ohio of 1010 feet; and one at Fribourg of 870 feet. The Lambeth Suspension Bridge, of 1040 feet, is in three spans. In point of height the Clifton Suspension Bridge is unequalled in the world. It is 245 feet above high-water, being 78 feet higher than the magnificent bridge at Fribourg.
The weight of the bridge is 1500 tons, and its theoretical strength 7000 tons, or about 9 tons per square inch. The company have the power to prevent a load of the weight of more than 28 tons coming upon the bridge at any one time. Tolls are charged (2d. for foot-passengers); but there is a provision in the Act restricting dividends to 77 per cent, and applying the surplus to the redemption of the shares, with the view of ultimately making the bridge toll-free.
It is scarcely necessary to say that the view from the bridge is magnificent, as is also the view of the bridge from the gorge below.
In the neighbourhood of the Suspension Bridge is the Observatory, containing a camera obscura, telescopes, microscopes, and other optical instruments. From the Observatory there is a passage to the Ghyston Cave in the rock below. Little is known of the history of this excavation, which is doubtless an ancient hermitage. Near the Observatory are some traces of a Roman encampment. Farther distant, between Clifton and Durdham Downs, are the Zoological Gardens, which are pleasantly laid out, and contain a pretty good collection of animals.
ALMONDSBURY, between six and seven miles north of Bristol, is a pleasant village, with an ancient church containing some Norman work, and having a good east window. There are traces of a Roman camp at Knowle, in the neighbourhood. This parish is said to have derived its name from Alcmond, a Saxon prince, being buried here.
ASALEY Down ORPHAN HOUSES are about a mile from Bristol. This is a very remarkable institution, and is well deserving of a visit. It was originated, and is conducted, by Mr. George Müller, who commenced his benevolent enterprise as early as 1832, from which date to 1849 he took charge of 100 orphan children in Wilson Street, Bristol. In 1849 he commenced operations on a greater scale at Ashley Down, and at intervals since that time has enlarged his establishment. At present upwards of 1000 orphan children are supported and educated here. Mr. Müller depends for the means of carrying on his enterprise on the free-will contributions of the public; and the manner in which these have come, unsolicited, enabling him to extend his operations, is marvellous, and perhaps unexampled. This interesting institution may be viewed on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
BADMINTON, the seat of the Duke of Beaufort, is 16 miles distant, to the north-east of Bristol. This large and elegant mansion is situated in an extensive and finely-wooded park, and contains some fine paintings and sculptures and a good library. The Church is a tasteful modern edifice, and contains, among other monuments, a beautiful piece of sculpture to the memory of Henry Charles, sixth Duke of Beaufort. The remains of Field-Marshal Lord Raglan, commanderin-chief of the British army in the Crimea, are interred here.
BLAISE CASTLE, about 44 miles north frou Bristol, occupies the summit of a fine conical eminence, which seems to have been a Roman fort, and perhaps previously a British one. Numerous Roman remains have been discovered here in the course of excavations. The ground-plan of the castle is a circle, flanked by three round towers, in one of which is a geometrical staircase, leading to a large apartment. The place takes its name from a chapel which once stood liere, dedicated to St. Blaise, the patron of the wool-combers.
The Mansion is very elegant, and charmingly situated. It contains many fine pictures collected by J. S. Harford, Esq., D.C.L., author of Recollections of Wilberforce (1864), the owner of the estate, who admits the public to view them on Thursdays. It is necessary for visitors to notify beforehand, by, letter to the gardener, that they wish to avail themselves of this permission to view the house and grounds.
Blaise Hamlet, in the neighbourhood of the grounds, consists of ten cottages erected in 1811 by the late J. S. Harford, Esq., for the benevolent purpose of providing an asylum for persons advanced in years possessed of a sufficient income to maintain them comfortably, but unable to bear the additional expense of house-rent. The hamlet is allowed on all hands to be a marvel of picturesque beauty.
The Church of Henbury, in the immediate neighbourhood, contains several ancient monuments, but is otherwise of little interest. The village is a pleasant one of about 100 houses. At the last census its population was 423, showing a decrease of 11 since 1851.
Compton Greenfield Church, 2 miles beyond Henbury, has a fine Norman doorway.
CHIPPING-SODBURY, a mile from Yate station, which is 10% from Bristol, is situated at the foot of a hill near the river Avon. The town was incorporated by Charles II., but, at the request of the inhabitants, the grant was annulled in 1688; it is now governed by certain officers who are appointed by the lord of the manor. There are some excellent markets held here. The population is 1112, and the inhabited houses 249. The principal occupation of the population is supplied by coal-mines, which employ 459 persons. A few men are engaged in iron-mining.
The Church is a large building, whose only feature of elegance is its tower, which is ancient. There are several Dissenting chapels, that of the Roman Catholics being specially noticeable for its taste. The other buildings are a town-hall and a national school.
Little Sodbury Manor is interesting as the place where Tyndale commenced his translation of the New Testament.
Near Chipping-Sodbury are the remains of a Roman camp.
Old Sodbury, a mile distant, has an ancient church with a fine embattled tower and a curious entrance porch.