Taking Inspiration from the 150th Anniversary of Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Society of Merchant Venturers, one of Bristol’s most influential philanthropic organisations, is looking forward to the 150th anniversary celebrations of the completion of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The Merchant Venturers played a key role in ensuring the world-famous landmark was finally completed more than a century after the idea was first aired.

And the organisation, which is made up of some of Bristol’s leading businessmen and women, believes it is vital for the city to celebrate the ground-breaking engineering achievement.

Anthony Brown, Master of the Merchant Venturers said: “It took extraordinary vision, enterprise and ambition to attempt this breath-taking feat.

“And the fact that the bridge was finally completed more than a century after the idea was first considered speaks volumes for the endeavour and determination of everyone involved.

“The skill and ingenuity of all those involved in the building of the bridge helped put Bristol on the world map and played a major part in making Bristol the great city it has become today.”

He added: “The qualities and vision shown by Brunel and everyone involved in the construction of the bridge are still apparent in Bristol today.

“Bristol has the potential to become a great modern city and a hub for creativity, enterprise and innovation.

“There can be direct a comparison drawn between the industry and enterprise of the Victorian age and the era of technological innovation and creativity we are currently living through.

“The city is fast becoming a leading centre for research, creativity and the development of cutting edge technology. We are also leading the way in aerospace, robotics, computing and information technology.

“The spirit of endeavour and creativity that was founded by Brunel and his contemporaries appears to be alive and flourishing in Bristol.”

The Society of Merchant Venturers was a key player in ensuring that the Suspension Bridge became a reality and the organisation has been keen to carry on the tradition of encouraging the entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit in the city.

The organisation has some of the leading members of the business community within its ranks and over the last decade it has been keen to play an even more active role in Bristol.

As well as playing an important role in the commercial life of the city the Merchants have become key players in charitable work, education and caring for the vulnerable and the elderly.

The organisation also works with the city council to preserve and safeguard the Downs for the public to use.

Anthony Brown said: “The Merchant Venturers take their role and responsibilities in the city extremely seriously.

“It is important that as the anniversary of the Clifton Suspension Bridge approaches we celebrate the incredible achievements of the past. But it is just as important that we draw on the example of the past and look to the future.

“The ambition shown by the architects of the Suspension Bridge is an example and continues to be a source of inspiration to us all.”