Wales

Menai Suspension Bridge's 200-year anniversary marked

Photo of the first Menai Strait bridge, built in the early 19th Century Image copyright Ian Warburton / Geograph
Image caption The first Menai Bridge was built in the early 19th Century

The 200-year anniversary of a bridge connecting Anglesey and the Welsh mainland is being marked.

Events are being held all day to mark the day the first stone of the Menai Suspension Bridge was laid.

There will be a a history fair, talks about limestone, a tool display and a chance to learn about life in the 19th Century.

Some planned demonstrations of the skills needed for bridge building were cancelled due to the weather.

In 1819 Thomas Telford, a civil engineer, began working on improving the journey between London and Holyhead, and designed the Menai Bridge.

Construction started that year but was not finished until January 1826.

It cut the journey time by 19 hours - from 47 to 28.

Bob Daimond, from the Menai Heritage trust, said: "It was by far the most innovative suspension bridge at the time.

"It wasn't the first but it was certainly the biggest and certainly the most beautiful and attractive."

Mr Daimond, a chartered civil engineer, said the bridge's design developed the concept of anchorages - where cables attach to the ends of the deck, rather than to the ground.

At the time, the chains had to be lifted into place from a raft on the water, he told BBC Radio Wales.

"With proper schedule of maintenance and repairs, there's no reason it won't still be here in 2219," he added.

Construction on a third crossing over the water is due to begin in 2021.

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