Pero's Bridge

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Pero's Bridge
Coordinates51°27′00″N 2°35′52″W / 51.4501°N 2.5979°W / 51.4501; -2.5979Coordinates: 51°27′00″N 2°35′52″W / 51.4501°N 2.5979°W / 51.4501; -2.5979
CrossesSt Augustine's Reach in Bristol Harbour
LocaleBristol, England
Maintained byBristol City Council
Designbascule bridge
Longest span11 m (36 ft)
Clearance below3.3 m (11 ft)

Pero's Bridge (grid reference ST585726) is a pedestrian bascule bridge that spans St Augustine's Reach in Bristol Harbour, Bristol, England. It links Queen Square and Millennium Square.


The bridge is composed of three spans; the two outer ones are fixed and the central section can be raised to provide a navigation channel in the harbour. The most distinctive features of the bridge are the pair of horn-shaped sculptures which act as counterweights for the lifting section, leading it to be commonly known as the Horned Bridge or Shrek's Bridge as the counterweights resemble the ears of the animated star of the eponymous film.


The bridge is named after Pero, also known as Pero Jones, who lived from around 1753 to 1798, arriving in Bristol probably from the Caribbean Island of Nevis in 1783, as the slave of the merchant John Pinney (1740–1818) at 7 Great George Street.[1][2]


The bridge was designed by the Irish artist Eilis O'Connell, in conjunction with Ove Arup & Partners engineers.[3] It was formally opened in 1999 by Paul Boateng MP, then a Home Office minister.[4] The name of the bridge was attacked by then Liberal Democrat councillor Stephen Williams. He condemned the decision as "gesture politics". Eilis O'Connell commented "The council can call it what they want, but Pero's Bridge sounds a bit political."[5] Hundreds of people now attach padlocks to the bridge as a sign of affection to each other.


Close up of the horn-shaped counterweights.

The length of the lifting span is 11 metres (36 ft) and a 9 metres (30 ft) navigation channel is provided.[6]


  1. ^ "Pero's Bridge". History Footsteps. Archived from the original on 11 August 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2006.
  2. ^ "Bristol's Georgian House Museum". Bristol City Council. Archived from the original on 13 August 2006. Retrieved 19 August 2006.
  3. ^ "Eilis O Connell Biography". Eilis O Connel sculptor. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  4. ^ Nicks, Gary (17 March 1999). "Bridge to a future of racial harmony". Western Daily Press. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  5. ^ Onions, Ian (17 November 1998). "Slave Bridge Attack; New name a snub to city benefactor" (subscription required). Bristol Evening Post. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Pero's Bridge, Bristol, UK". Arup. Archived from the original on 26 August 2004. Retrieved 19 August 2006.


Eickelmann, Christine; David Small (2004). PERO: The Life of a Slave in Eighteenth-Century Bristol. Redcliffe Press Ltd. ISBN 1-904537-03-0.

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