The 135-year-old Hammersmith Bridge is an integral part of Britain’s engineering heritage. The historic Grade II* listed structure is one of the world’s oldest suspension bridges and most recognisable landmarks.
While Hammersmith & Fulham’s specialist engineers are working hard every day to stabilise and repair the microfractures in the bridge’s supporting structure, Hammersmith Bridge remains an important site for the next generation of engineers.
Engineers of the future
Anna Brooks, 26, is a graduate at engineering company Mott MacDonald where she has been working on Hammersmith Bridge for three years.
“From when I was really young, I always loved STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects,” said Anna. She applied to the Bridges Programme at Mott MacDonald because she’d “always wondered how things were made and what went in behind different structures”.
“My favourite part about working on Hammersmith Bridge is coming to the site and seeing how things actually get done in reality,” Anna continued. “I’ve learned a lot more from being on the bridge compared to looking at a computer screen in the office.”
Anna was on site for the installation of the innovative temperature control system, the pioneering technology that has kept the bridge at a safe temperature during this extremely hot summer.
“STEM careers are so important because they keep the world moving,” Anna added.
Women and young people in STEM
H&F is getting young people interested and educated in STEM industries thanks to H&F’s Industrial Strategy, particularly young girls.
“I work with quite a few women, more than you’d expect,” Anna points out. “Especially the younger generation coming in, like the graduates, I’d say it’s almost 50/50 which is amazing.”
Anna has enjoyed mentoring the new graduates who have joined Mott MacDonald over the past three years. She said “It’s quite fun and makes you realise how much you’ve actually learned when you’re teaching other people”.
Hammersmith Bridge has provided Anna and many other young people the opportunity to get interested and educated in STEM.
H&F’s Cabinet Member for the Public Realm, Sharon Holder commented: “We are delighted that young women like Anna are so involved in the pioneering work to stabilise Hammersmith Bridge. The structure is equally unique and needs specialist technical skills like hers to keep it open and develop long-term solutions. We hope more women are inspired by her example.”
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