I knew I wanted something special for my 100th BoM but took far too long to realise that “special to me” was what I wanted. My uncle took me to Clifton when I was seven. I have a vivid memory of peering through the railings at the tiny cars and people below. You could do that then, now you can only poke a camera through.
There and then I decided I wanted to “Build bridges when I grow up.” My parents had no idea but my grandfather was a foreman in railway construction and knew I needed to be a Civil Engineer, so that became my aim.
It took me from a relatively weak position in a class of 48, through the 11 plus and proudly not to the Grammar school attended by Dad and his Dad but to the newly formed Doncaster Technical High School. I only got 15 months there before a family move to Essex sent me to Rayleigh but I got back to Yorkshire as a student in Leeds.
I worked on site on three grand bridges. Humber first, then Ouse, then a 70-90-70m launch job in Dunkeld and finally back on Humber building Catwalks before taking to the academic life for the sake of my family.
Arches were not what I dreamed of then but they occupy my mind so completely now I need help from podcasts to turn off and go to sleep.
Anyway, you can imagine my joy when Flint and Neil (now COWI) called to say they were bidding for the long-term care of Clifton and needed support on the masonry parts. In a modest way, I am the engineer on the Clifton Suspension Bridge, though there are others with much greater responsibility.
I think this might turn into a long one because there are so many things I wanted to see and now so many I want to tell you.
This is many pages and so you will need to download the pdf to read it.