Survey by Qualaroo

The Place of the Bridge - Part I (as part of The Promise)

The first extract from Jennifer Kabat's immersive narrative that journeys through space and time to rediscover forgotten histories, urban myths and Bristol's architectural legacy. Part of The Promise.

The Fall

Look up. A woman tumbles from the sky. The mud on the River Avon glistens silver in the light at low tide. Her skirts billow around her like a parachute as she spins over and over. Time, life, love is suspended as her fall slows, and she wonders what she is doing here, as she panics, as she hits the mud. The drop is more than 75 meters. She lives. She has hurled herself off the Clifton Suspension Bridge and over the next hundred years becomes one of only four to survive. Two of that number are children. They plummet over the side together a decade later.

The fallen woman might be the moral of the story. We could call her “moral”, a word here that could take in class, woman, city, bridge – the city identified with that bridge, like that river – perhaps representing shifting morals, certainly shifting values. We could also call her Sarah. Sarah Ann Henley. The year is 1885 and she’s had a lovers quarrel. She lives at 30 Twinnell Road, and she lives on. And on. She dies in 1948. A picture of the children who also survived the fall are in a locket she has when she dies. Tied together by not dying, they beat the odds and death – and a bridge.

The second extract from The Place of The Bridge is available to view online.

The Place of The Bridge is part of The Promise and is available as a free publication from the gallery spaces. The Promise focuses on the relationship between a city’s design and the hopes and ambitions of its residents.  Exhibitions and events will take place in the Arnolfini galleries and across the city of Bristol throughout the summer.

Filed under:
Thursday 14 November 2019, 18:00 to 19:00


Arnolfini Bookshop is delighted to host book artist Sarah Bodman for an experiment in automatic drawing.