UNION SUSPENSION BRIDGE INCLUDING PYLONS, PIERS AND WALLS (Ref:13645)
This building is in the Scottish Borders Council and the
It is a category A building and was listed on 09/06/1971.
Group Items: N/A,
Group Cat: N/A,
Map Ref: NT 9340 5103.
Captain Samuel Brown, Royal Navy, with advice from John Rennie, 1819-20; improved and strengthened by J A Bean for Tweed Bridge Trustees, 1902-3. Timber carriageway spanning River Tweed suspended from 3 pairs of swept, wrought-iron cables with wrought-iron bolt brackets linking iron-rod suspenders; rope-moulded upper cables; plain iron railings enclosing sides. Channelled pink sandstone, tapering rectangular-plan pylon to W side with keystoned, round-arched opening at centre; mutuled cornice; tall parapet with carved roses and thistles surmounting central block inscribed 'VIS UNITA FORTIOR 1820' to E. Channelled pink sandstone, tapering pylon set into hillside to E with blocked, pilastered doorway centred at ground framing memorial plaque; mutuled cornice; tall parapet with carved roses and thistles surmounting central block also inscribed 'VIS UNITA FORTIOR 1820'. Rectangular-plan, pink sandstone piers flanking carriageway to W with rubble-coped rubble walls linking pylon to E. Pyramidal-capped, square-plan, pink sandstone piers flanking carriageway to W of E pylon; rubble-coped rubble walls to E.
SCHEDULED MONUMENT IN SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND. Erected on behalf of the Berwick and North Durham Turnpike Trust, opened 26th July 1820. The first large suspension bridge in Britain, still in use as such (1999). Spanning the River Tweed (the county and border boundary), this elegant, well-detailed bridge remains much as it was when first complete - Brown's bolt brackets (patented by him in 1817 and used here for the first time), the sweeping chains and monumental pylons being particularly notable. Technological innovation enabled suspension bridges to span large widths at a fraction of the cost of their masonry equivalents - this bridge being 27ft above the water, 368ft long, 18ft wide and having cost approximately ?7500 to erect. The 1902-3 strengthening saw the addition of the rope-moulded cables and further rope-moulded suspenders to steel reinforcement at the sides of the original deck. Captain Samuel Brown (1776-1851) joined the Navy in 1795 and following the Napoleonic Wars, formed a partnership with his cousin, Samuel Lennox, to manufacture chain cable for general use on Naval vessels. His successful designs and the patents he subsequently took out on them meant he was soon the Navy's sole supplier of chain cables. Beside his work for vessels, Brown also supplied the chainwork for approximately forty piers and suspension bridges - Brighton Chain Pier, opened in 1823, being the most well known of the former and the Union Suspension Bridge being amongst the best examples of the latter. The former tollhouse originally associated with the bridge is situated to the W - see separate list entry, 'Union Suspension Bridge, Bridge House'.
Blackadder's map, 1797 (not evident). Thomson's map, 1821 (evident - marked 'Union Bridge'). Sharp, Greenwood & Fowler's map, 1826 (evident - marked 'Chain Bridge'). NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT (completed 1834, published 1845) pp161-162. Ordnance Survey map, 1857 (evident). F H Groome ORDNANCE GAZETTEER (1883) p281. Lady Furness 'Netherbyres' PROCEEDINGS OF THE BERWICKSHIRE NATURALISTS' CLUB, Vol XXXIX, (1971) pp14-15. J R Hume THE INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY OF SCOTLAND, Vol 1 (1976) pp82-83. 'Captain Sir Samuel Brown of Netherbyres' PROCEEDINGS OF THE BERWICKSHIRE NATURALISTS' CLUB, Vol XLIII, (1986) pp73-79. NMRS photographic records.
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