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View from west

E 5942 CN

Description View from west

Date 31/7/2001

Collection RCAHMS

Catalogue Number E 5942 CN

Category Photographs and Off-line Digital Images

Copies SC 797014

Scope and Content Depot and Bridge No 23, Drumshoreland, Union Canal, West Lothian, from west This shows the west side of the bridge, which was designed by Baird and built around 1820. The keystone of the segmental arch is incised with the number '23', which is the serial number for the bridge. A projecting string-course runs along the base of the stone parapet which is topped by coping. Bridges on public highways had stone parapets whereas bridges on subsidiary or estate roads had railed parapets. The towpath, originally walked by horses pulling barges, continues underneath the bridge and is now used as a bicycle route. The building in the background is probably the canal ranger's office. Every bridge on the Union Canal has a serial number which runs east-west from Bridge No 1, Edinburgh to Bridge No 62, Falkirk. All the bridges on the Union Canal were built with dressed stone which was in contrast to the many timber bascule bridges (drawbridges) on the Forth & Clyde Canal. At the other side of this bridge there is a cottage which is now used by British Waterways Scotland as their Union Canal headquarters. The government authorised the construction of the Union Canal in 1817 and appointed Hugh Baird (1770-1827) as the chief engineer. The main purpose of the canal was to provide an economical route for the transportation of coal and lime between Edinburgh and Glasgow via the Forth & Clyde Canal (1768-90). The 51km-long canal was opened in 1822 at a cost of £461,760, almost double the estimate, and it ran from Lock 16 at Camelon, Falkirk to Fountainbridge, Edinburgh. Except where the two canals are joined at Falkirk, the canal was built with no locks because it followed the contours of the hills. The Union Canal was closed in 1965, two years after the Forth & Clyde Canal, and the construction of new roads meant that it was impossible for boats to travel along the full length of these watercourses. However, the £84.5m Millennium Link project enabled both canals to reopen in 2002. Source: RCAHMS contribution to SCRAN.


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