London, South Kensington
29 November 1996
ROBERT STEPHENSON (1803-59)
Autograph letter signed ("Rob Stephenson") to I. K. Brunel, 1½ pages, 8vo, Newcastle Tyne Friday [no year], in envelope with later inscription "? Saltash floating 1857."
The inscription on the envelope suggests that this letter may be the answer to an invitation to attend the floating of the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash, originally planned as a timber construction but built in wrought iron at the Admiralty's insistence, and regarded as the greatest of all Brunel's railway works. The floating of the first span took place on September 1st 1857.
"I regret very much that I cannot be with you on Tuesday ... you will however I know be surrounded by many friends quite as able to lend a helping hand as I am, but there will not be one who wishes more sincerely for all to go well...."
With 2 other letters from Stephenson to Brunel, dated 1840 and 1855, the former discussing "an injunction to prevent the Blackwall Rw. Co. using the detaching apparatus which I have employed" and asking Brunel if he is willing "to make an affidavit in our favour." (3)
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