Your Questions about the Britannia Bridge
If you have any questions about the Britannia Bridge, please contact the project. We will get back to you as soon as possible with an answer and will also publish answers on this page of the website.
How did the Britannia Bridge get its name?
The name comes from the Britannia Rock, a rocky outcrop in the middle of the Strait, on which the middle tower of the bridge was built. But, where did the rock get its name?
The old Welsh name for the rock was Craig Frydan, which means roughly “rock in rough water”. It is thought that somebody assumed Frydan was a mutation of Prydain which means Britain so the name became Britannia Rock. Eventually the Welsh name became Craig Britannia.
Why is it relevant today?
Many people may believe that the bridge is not relevant today and are entitled to their own opinion. However, the bridge provides a vital transport link between Anglesey and mainland Britain. Indeed it links mainland Britain with Ireland as the A55 which runs over the bridge runs all the way to the ferry terminal in Holyhead. Without the bridge, it would be somewhat impossible for the volume of cars wanting to travel to and from Anglesey to do so.
With regards to any historical relevance, the design of the bridge has greatly influenced engineering throughout the world. The concepts that were first used in the construction of the bridge in its tubular form are still used today and can be seen in buildings, structures and other engineering works across the World.
How were the wrought iron tubes on the railway bridge over the Menai Strait lifted into position?
The tubes were floated out on rafts and then raised using hydraulic jacks/presses. Stonework was built up under the ends of the tube, as it was lifted, to offer support if the lifting equipment failed. This was fortunate because one jack did fail and the tube only fell nine inches. Part of one of the jacks is still visible on the mainland side of the bridge!
A full explanation of this and many other aspects of the construction of the Britannia Bridge are to be found in Edwin Clark’s magnificent volume of 1850 “The Britannia and Conway Tubular Bridges”. You may be able to access this in a public library, or it can be viewed online..