Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Publication Account

Date 1986

Event ID 1017191

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


This bridge was commissioned by Prince Albert in 1854 as part of the improvements then being earried out on the newly acquired Balmoral estate. It altered the route of the public road through the estate, thereby creating more privacy, and was intended as a more solid substitute for the typical Deeside suspension bridge 0.8km downstream (NO 266942). The Prince Consort turned to the designer of the great Royal Albert Bridge over the Tamar in Devon, the renowned engineer, Isambard Kingdom BruneI, who designed a novel, single-span, wrought-iron plate-girder bridge with diamond-shaped perforations in the girder web.

This is probably the earliest bridge of its type in Scotland. The two riveted girders are almost unique in BruneI's work, the closest parallel being in a girder designed for the East Bengal Railway. The girders are mounted on two large piers ofloeal granite, have a span of 39.8m and support a 4.1m wide deck of pine planking and tarmac. The iron-founder was R Brotherhood of Chippenham, Wiltshire (three of his name-plates survive on the bridge) and the building of the piers was supervised by Dr Andrew Robertson, the doctor and factor at Balmoral. It was completed (after delays in building the piers) in 1857.

In the event, what was to Brunel a bridge of ' functional elegance' and 'perfect simplicity' did not please the Royal Family. The Queen's journal, normally so effusive about any new bridge or building, or any Albert-Ied improvements to her 'Dear paradise', is ominously silent on the bridge literally at her gateway. There is certainly nothing baronial, gothic or romantic about it, and the Queen's taste inclined that way. As a result it was omitted from BruneI's canon and largely ignored. However, it is an important example of his work.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Grampian’, (1986).

People and Organisations