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A series of online talks for ICE Wales Cymru, in conjunction with the South Wales Institute of Engineers Educational Trust (SWIEET) and the Newcomen Society, by Stephen K. Jones. Stephen is the Wales representative for the Panel for Historical Engineering Works (PHEW), on historical engineering works in Wales and the wider world and has particular interest in Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Captain Sir Samuel Brown.
The Welsh landscape challenged Brunel to develop innovative engineering solutions and he worked extensively with Welsh industry including Brown Lenox.
The first two talks concern Brunel’s works in South Wales and the last two on the history of the suspension bridge in a worldwide context whilst illustrating the pioneering work of Samuel Brown and the Brown Lenox chainworks he established in South Wales. The impact of the railway on its development and decline is also covered in the last talk.
Part 4: Rise and fall: Steam and the suspension bridge
The suspension bridge was considered as a potential long span bridging solution for the early main line railway, but the first example built for railway use demonstrated that the un-stiffened suspension bridge was inherently unsuitable for the live loading of the steam locomotive.
Further attempts would be made with a successful, if largely unrepeated, example constructed in North America. Surprisingly, two examples of this lonely breed survived until 2016 and 2018 in Chile and a cable stayed hybrid design still carries a light rail electric system in the French Alps.
Wales Member ICE Panel for Historical Engineering Works
Chief Executive of the South Wales Institute of Engineers Educational Trust (SWIEET)
Trustee Friends of Union Chain Bridge
Born in Cardiff Stephen’s professional background was in industrial development and economic regeneration, latterly at the Welsh Development Agency (WDA). He is the editor of Welsh Achievements in Science, Technology and Engineering, a Visiting Research Fellow at Bath University, an Overton Research Fellowship in Transportation History (Lexington Group USA) and a Newcomen Society member.
Engineering history, particularly the work of Brunel, has long been an interest and he published the final volume of the Brunel in South Wales trilogy in 2009. Exhibitions include Web of Iron and recent publications include chapters in Samuel Brown and Union Chain Bridge (2017), The Engineering Revolution: How the modern world has been transformed by technology (2019) and Spanning the Centuries (2020).
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