Historic bridge set for bicentenary

This weekend sees the 200th birthday of a historic link between Scotland and England, which when first built held a world record.

By Kevin Janiak
Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 12:35 pm
The Union Chain Bridge will be 200 years old on Saturday.
The Union Chain Bridge will be 200 years old on Saturday.

The world-renowned Union Chain Bridge, which links the countries over the River Tweed, celebrates its bicentennial this Sunday, July 26.

The bridge, between Fishwick in Berwickshire and Horncliffe in Northumberland, was designed by English Royal Navy officer, Captain Samuel Brown, who patented and produced wrought iron chains after being affected by the loss of Royal Naval ships which had broken free from their weak hempen ropes.

When it opened in 1820, the Union Chain Bridge was the longest wrought iron suspension bridge in the world with a span of 449 feet and the first vehicular bridge of its type in the UK.

Friends of the Union Chain Bridge chairman, Robert Hunter said: “This is truly one of the most historic bridges in the world and a fascinating piece of engineering.

“We had planned a number of celebrations to mark the occasion, but unfortunately they have had to be postponed.

“However, the fact that work is shortly going to begin on £10m renovation is the best birthday present possible and will ensure generations to come will be able to enjoy the bridge in all its splendour.”

Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Scotland director Hannah Smith said: “The Union Chain Bridge is an often-overlooked part of Scotland’s engineering heritage so the bicentenary is the perfect opportunity to pay tribute.

“We know it is renowned the world over and it is fantastic that work will shortly commence on its renovation.

“I am certainly looking forward to seeing it in all its glory at the earliest opportunity.”