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Linlathen East Iron Bridge
Dighty Water, Linlathen, near Dundee, Angus, Scotland, UK
Linlathen East Iron Bridge
associated engineer
Not known
date  circa 1804, 2011
era  Georgian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  NO463328
ICE reference number  HEW 2606
photo  © and licensed for reuse under this
An early cast and wrought iron bridge that is possibly the oldest-surviving iron bridge in Scotland — and is certainly among the oldest in the world. Not long ago described as 'at risk', Linlathen East Iron Bridge has now been restored.
The bridge was built sometime between 1795 and 1810, though probably around 1804 — only two or three decades later than the world’s first major bridge to be constructed wholly in cast iron, Iron Bridge in Shropshire, built by Abraham Darby (1750-91) and opened in 1781.
Linlathen East Bridge was constructed to carry an estate road over the Dighty Water and was one of two approaches to Linlathen House (demolished 1980s). It pre-dates the cast iron Duchess Bridge (NY360852) of 1813 over the River Esk on the Buccleuch Estate.
The bridge's 2.75m wide single arch has a clear span of 10.7m. This was a bold effort for its time. The unique ironwork is substantially handcrafted, including the transverse trusses carrying the intermediate bearers that support the timber deck beams and tie bars. The bridge's buttresses are of ashlar sandstone. The northern buttress has a small round-headed arch, possibly for a mill lade.
While the designer and maker are now unknown, the structure’s origins appear Dundonian. The circles in its spandrels, which diminish in size towards the crown of the arch, were probably influenced by the elevation of Sunderland’s Wearmouth Bridge (completed 1796, demolished 1929).
Crude strengthening works in the 20th century for farm use, with deep timber beams inserted, running from the crown to heightened abutments, resulted in the roadway at the north end being raised above balustrade height.
The bridge was classified as ‘at risk’ in October 2003 because of its poor structural condition, though the main members appeared to be intact. It has been a Category A listed building since October 1991.
Restoration work began in May 2011. The project included the dismantling of the bridge and the removal of the ironwork for refurbishment by specialists, using the original techniques, and the replacement of damaged sections on a like-for-like basis. The bridge is now used for foot traffic.
Contractor (2011): Land & Building Services, Dundee
Research: ECPK
bibliography
www.thecourier.co.uk
reference sources   CEH SHI
Location

Linlathen East Iron Bridge