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Montrose, Old Bridge

Suspension Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Montrose, Old Bridge

Classification Suspension Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Montrose Bridge; River South Esk; Montrose Basin; Ferryden

Canmore ID 134219

Site Number NO75NW 55

NGR NO 70992 57226

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Angus
  • Parish Montrose
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Angus
  • Former County Angus

Archaeology Notes

NO75NW 55.00 70992 57226

Suspension Bridge [NAT]

OS (GIS) ep. 3.

NO75NW 55.01 Cancelled

Location formerly entered as centred NO 70985 57220.

For successor (concrete) New Bridge (formerly entered as NO75NW 55.01), see NO75NW 547.

For corresponding railway viaduct (adjacent to W), see NO75NW 39.


Architect: Alexander Stevenson & Son. Begun 1794 finished 1796

Montrose Suspension Bridge was demolished c. 1927.

Information from NMRS Demolitions catalogue.


Scottish Records Office

Proposed bridge over the River North Esk.

Site for a new bridge surveyed by John Baxter and John Adam, architects.

Letter to James Ross, the Duke of Gorden's Factor, from John Baxter adds this information.

1769 GD/44/sec 43/Bundle 14

Building an Iron Suspension Bridge over the South Esk.

Letter from Colin Alison to Lord Melville.

It concerns his objections to the Bill for replacing the present wooden bridge over the River South Esk with an iron suspension bridge.

1825 GD/51/5/609/1-2

Financing the building of a bridge over the South Esk.

Letter from James Chalmers to Henry Dundas.

He seeks a subcription towards the cost.

1788 GD/51/5/551


Edinburgh Central Library, Edinburgh Room - Scots Magazine February 1811 - 1 engraving.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

This bridge formerly carried the A92 public road over the River South Esk between Montrose and Ferryden, and at the entrance to Montrose Basin. The entirety of its structure fell within the parish of Montrose.

This available map (GIS) evidence indicates a location at NO 70992 57226 for the midpoint of this structure. It apparently extended from NO c. 71031 57312 to NO c. 70954 57140.

Records in the SRO (cited above) indicate the presence of a predecessor timber bridge.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 20 April 2006.


Construction (1828)

Suspension bridge designed by Capt. Sir Samuel Brown RN . It had a suspended span of 432 ft. Replaced around 1931.

Publication Account (2007)

The second bridge crossing the River South Esk at this site (1828–1931) was a suspension bridge designed by Capt. Sir Samuel Brown RN that had a suspended span of 432 ft. The cast-iron deck beams, supporting the timber deck, were suspended from multibar, wrought-iron chains carried on masonry towers. This

bridge failed partially on two occasions: in 1830 when it was crowded with people watching a boat race, and in 1838 in hurricane force winds. J. M. Rendel reconditioned the bridge after the second failure and successfully inhibited deck oscillation by introducing substantial timber trussing longitudinally independent of the hangers, an early instance of such practice.

R Paxton and J Shipway 2007b

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Highlands and Islands' with kind permission of Thomas Telford Publishers.

Publication Account (2013)

Road: 1828 suspension bridge by Captain Samuel Brown, his longest span at 432ft. In 1930 Sir E Owen Williams completed a replacement in homage to it: a double cantilever bridge of 216 ft main span constructed in reinforced concrete that echoed the form of the previous suspension bridge. This design led to controversy across the Atlantic: “it is regrettable that a freak structure of inappropriate design should have been allowed to succeed the previous 100-year old suspension bridge” (D B Steinmann). Its successor by Balfour Beatty is again shorter in span than the first bridge (look under the beams for the rounded piers of Brown’s bridge).

Railway: a curving brick arched viaduct crosses the road and Rossie Island leading on to a multispan bowstring girder viaduct on concrete filled piers across the channel. This was built in 1881-3 by Sir Wm Arrol contractors to designs by W R Galbraith

M Watson, 2013

Note (8 July 2014)

Since 1795, there has been a sequence of four road bridges over the River South Esk at the entrance to the Montrose Basin. The earliest documented bridge (NO75NW 607) was built in 1796 and replaced in 1828 by a Suspension Bridge (NO75NW 55.00). This bridge was, in turn, replaced by a concrete bridge (NO75NW 547), designed by Owen Williams, in 1931. Following the discovery of internal decay within the concrete structure, the bridge was closed in 2004 and replaced with a temporary structure whilst a new bridge (NO75NW 607) was being built on the original site.

Information from RCAHMS (PMcK) 8 July 2014


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