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Tweed Bridge, Peebles
River Tweed, Peebles, Scottish Borders, Scotland, UK
Tweed Bridge, Peebles
associated engineer
Not known
date  circa 1465
UK era  Medieval  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  NT249402
ICE reference number  HEW 2404
photo  © and licensed for reuse under this
What appears to be a Victorian masonry bridge is actually of medieval origin. It is the only road crossing of the River Tweed in Peebles, carrying the B7062, and has been altered many times over the centuries.
Tweed Bridge may have been built by a master mason known as 'John of Peebles' — who worked on repairs to Perth Bridge (built c.1210) over the River Tay. It was in the course of erection or undergoing improvement in 1465. At that time it had a clear width of only 2.44m over its five arches, whose spans vary from 11.6m to 12.8m. According to a plaque on the inner parapet, it was originally a timber structure clad in stone.
A series of repairs were carried out during the 17th and 18th centuries. At some time a ramp carried on five round-headed arches was added at the north east corner of the bridge, branching off at a right angle towards Tweed Green.
In 1663, the bridge was reconstructed, allegedly with stone taken from the ruins of St Andrew’s church (consecrated 1195) to the north. The church tower survives, but the rest was destroyed in 1548 by the English army.
In 1799, mason John Hislop added up to three arches to the south end of the bridge. These were replaced circa 1863 by the railway overbridge for the line that ran from Eskbank, south of Edinburgh, to Galashiels. The overbridge was constructed using steel beams manufactured at the Glengarnock Iron Works. However, the railway line closed in 1962 and the track was removed.
Bridge widening increased the roadway width to 6.4m in 1834, with work being done to both sides of the structure. It was paid for mostly by public subscription and cost around £1,000.
The width was increased further, to 12.2m, in 1897-1900 by taking down and rebuilding the east (downstream) façade at a cost of some £8,000. The cast iron dolphin lamp standards on the parapets date from circa 1900 and were made in Glasgow.
A close inspection of the underside of the bridge reveals the arches of earlier construction and the various widening works. The original arches are almost semicircular whereas the later additions have flatter segmental arches. The arches are separated by ashlar piers, which have cutwaters on the west side and rounded profiles on the east side.
Tweed Bridge has been a Category A listed building since February 1971.
Supervising engineers (1834 widening): John and Thomas Smith, Darnick
Supervising engineers (1897-1900 widening): McTaggart, Cowan & Barker
Contractor (1897-1900 widening): Dickson & Clyde, Peebles
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH SLB

Tweed Bridge, Peebles