Lens Lens (Royal Albert Bridge, Plymouth-Saltash, Devon/Cornwall, UK)

Lens Lens (Royal Albert Bridge, Plymouth-Saltash, Devon/Cornwall, UK)

The Beauty of Transport

There are two basic ways of telling that the Royal Albert Bridge between Plymouth and Saltash is the work of engineer/architect/visionary Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The first is that it looks like nothing else on the British railway network. Brunel – Benjamin ‘Dizzy’ Disraeli to Robert Stephenson’s William Gladstone – was a true one-off. He wouldn’t have recognised a conventional design solution if it had come up to him, ground his famous cigar underfoot and then jumped up and down on his top hat. Brunel seems to have been engaged in a lifelong search for the biggest, the widest, the flattest, the broadest, the most spectacular, the most unusual.

The second way you can tell is this:

The Royal Albert Bridge, in 2014. Photo by Geof Sheppard (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

…which does rather give the game away, though the inscription wasn’t there when the…

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