Stori ryfeddol adeiladu Pont Britannia dros y Fenai yn cynnwys gwerthfawrogiad o ddoniau'r cynllunwyr a'r peirianwyr, gwybodaeth am ambell anghydfod a damwain a'r budd i drafnidiaeth, gyda nodiadau am bedair pont diwb arall. 38 ffotograff lliw a thros 80 llun du-a-gwyn.
The remarkable story of building the Britannia Bridge across the Menai Strait, comprising an appraisal of the skills of the designers and engineers and information about disputes, accidents and benefits to the community, with notes on four other tubular bridges. 38 colour photographs and over 80 black-and-white illustrations.
The Britannia Tubular Bridge across the Menai Straits is one of Britain's greatest landmarks with its handsome Egyptian-style pylons and imperial stone lions, and it caused as much of a furore in its day as I K Brunel's Great Eastern.
John Rapley sets the scene for its experimental construction at the height of the railway mania of the mid-nineteenth century. Its creators were the famous Robert Stephenson and the less familiar William Fairbairn, 'a far greater technologist'. In fact, Mr Rapley's avowed purpose in retelling a well-known story is to do justice to Fairbairn, 'sadly under-rated by the historians and biographers of the last 150 years', since Robert Stephenson and his assistant, Edwin Clark, were determined to take all the credit, and Clark's book published in 1850 has been the basis of all subsequent accounts of the bridge's construction.
My only criticism is that the story of the bridge is related in fits and starts, with many digressions, especially in the earlier chapters. However, this does not detract from the considerable interest of the book as a whole and the many biographies of lesser figures, who played significant roles in railway development, make fascinating reading, as does the picture of the immense logistical problems of building the bridge in North Wales and the effect on local society.
This is a timely publication, with the enormous upsurge of interest in the engineering giants of the nineteenth century, after Jeremy Clarkson's tour-de-force on television on behalf of Brunel in the recent Great Britons series. No-one can fail to be impressed anew by how intelligent and adaptable the Victorians were, inventing new machines almost overnight to cope with the new challenges they encountered. Although tubular bridges were few in number, the experimental work required for their creation eventually made feasible the building of larger ships and especially the Great Eastern.
The book also describes other tubular railway bridges in detail, such as the Conwy, the Brotherton, the Victoria Tubular Bridge at Montreal and others in Canada and
Egypt. There are some marvellous early photographs and beautiful prints and a bibliography, chronology and index.
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Gellir defnyddior adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.