Menai Bridge model

This model is made of brass by Richard Dorkins, a brazier working on Bangor’s High Street. It was prepared for the Bangor Royal Eisteddfod in 1874. It cost £90 in 1874 (equivalent to £7000 today).

Before 1826, travellers on the long journey from London to Holyhead faced a dangerous ferry-crossing across the Menai Strait to reach Anglesey. As traffic on the road increased, it became clear that a bridge was needed to cross the Strait. Thomas Telford accepted the challenge of leading the engineering work and, in 1819, set about building a bridge of sufficient height so that large sailing ships could pass underneath. The Menai Suspension Bridge (or Pont y Borth as it is called locally), which was opened on January 30th, 1826, is a feat of engineering. The bridge was built to span 579 feet from bank to bank and has a clearance of 100 feet below the road at high tide.

Visitors today will notice considerable changes to the bridge since it was built. In the late 1930s the original ironwork was replaced with steel chains and a new road constructed that would be able to cope with the pressures of modern transport.