The new bridge linking Bristol to the site of the new arena was officially named today (Wednesday 16th March) by the winners of a city-wide competition.

The contest, run by the Homes and Communities Agency, Bristol City Council and the Bristol Post, saw hundreds of people from across the city suggest a name for the bridge.

The winning name, chosen by a panel of judges including the Mayor of Bristol is: Brock’s Bridge, named by the Knowle and Totterdown Local History Society to honour William Brock.

William Brock (1830-1907) was an entrepreneur and builder in Victorian Bristol, whose family lived in Totterdown overlooking the arena site. Brock started a successful business next to Temple Meads station – very close to where the bridge stands today.

Brock's Bridge plaque

No stranger to bridge construction himself, Brock was involved in the construction of St Philips Bridge; the Bristol Bridge and Bedminster Bridge. An enthusiastic railwayman he also built local stations at Taunton and Weston-super- Mare.

Brock also built the Swiss House in Leigh Woods, near the suspension bridge – included in many iconic pictures of Bristol.

Members of the Knowle and Totterdown Local History Society include two of William Brock’s great, great grandchildren, who were at the naming event to celebrate his life.

Jan and Shirley Packer said:

“Our Great-Great Grandfather, William Brock, came to Bristol in the 1850s to provide a better life for his family. The construction and manufacturing businesses he built locally were involved with waterways, railways and churches around Bristol and beyond.

“Our Grandma used to point out local landmarks built by her Grandfather as far back as we can remember. We are so pleased that our history group can now tell the story and are very proud that William Brock’s work is recognised in such a special way.”

Mayor and Brock's descendants

Mayor George Ferguson with William Brock’s great great grandchildren

The bridge was funded by the Homes and Communities Agency, the Government’s housing, land and regeneration agency. This will help kick-start development on and around Arena Island – which will include housing and new business space, as well as the proposed arena.

David Warburton, Head of Area for the HCA, said:

“The bridge’s new name is a fitting tribute to the spirit of the Enterprise Zone. I hope it will inspire the next generation of innovators to take a chance and build a business that will leave its mark on the city of Bristol.”

Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson added:

“A big thanks to the Bristol Post for eliciting so many good responses to the competition. We were tempted by some of the more obvious names but the historically based Brock’s Bridge stood out as a strong winner for all the judges.

“William Brock was a major local employer, engineer and entrepreneur, buried at Arno’s Vale cemetery, making it particularly appropriate that a major landmark infrastructure project in the Enterprise Zone should be named after him.

“In Bristol’s Year of Learning 2016 it gives a welcome opportunity to rediscover a substantial Bristol figure as a result of this bridge.”

A timelapse video showing the bridge being launched across the river. Copyright Paul Appleby.