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Dumbarton, Bridge Street, Dumbarton Bridge

Road Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Dumbarton, Bridge Street, Dumbarton Bridge

Classification Road Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) River Leven

Canmore ID 42369

Site Number NS37NE 32

NGR NS 39268 75358

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council West Dunbartonshire
  • Parish Dumbarton
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Dumbarton
  • Former County Dunbartonshire

Archaeology Notes

NS37NE 32 39268 75358

Dumbarton Bridge [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1992.

Not to be confused with (successor) Artizan Bridge (NS 39262 75537), for which see NS37NE 184.

(Location cited as NS 393 753). Dumbarton Bridge was built in 1765, widened in 1884 and was reconstructed in 1934. A 5-span bridge, with dressed-stone arch rings and rubble spandrels and wing walls, extended in concrete. The arches are segmental, increasing in size to the centre, and there are rounded cutwaters extended up to form circular buttresses, now supporting the concrete extensions.

J R Hume 1976.

Dumbarton Bridge, 1765, John Brown. Long planned, the crossing of the Leven was not achieved until the 18th century. The bridge is supported on five segmental arches on fat cutaway piers. In 1884 W R Copland widened the roadway with iron cantilevers; further reconstruction was effected in 1933-4.

F A Walker and F J Sinclair 1992.

Dumbarton Bridge. In 1682, at the Convention of Burghs, a proposal was made to bridge the River Leven. It was not, however, until 1765 that the constructionb of a five-arched bridge was completed by the local mason John Brown. Segmental arches, with radial masonry fanning from the voussoirs, are carried on piers with massive rounded cutwaters. In 1768 John Smeaton reported on a sunken pier, advising Brown how to make good the damage. In 1884, W R Copland added concrete footpaths and balustrades, supporting this extra width on iron cantilever brackets set between the cutwaters. Further reconstruction by engineers F A MacDonald and partners, in 1933-4, added the concrete balustrade.

J Gifford and F A Walker 1992.

This bridge carries Bridge Street (a public road) over the River Leven on the W side of the town of Dumbarton (NS37NE 32). It forms the lowest crossing-point on the river, and is situated where the river forms the boundary between the parishes of Dumbarton (to the E) and Cardross (to the W). The name 'Dalreoch Bridge' has been applied to this structure.

The location assigned to this record defines the centre of the span. The available map evidence indicates that the bridge extends from NS c. 39215 75347 to NS c. 39328 75371.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 29 December 2005.

Architecture Notes

NS37NE 32 39268 75358


Scottish Records Office

Bridge at Dumbarton Plan. GD1/328/3



Modification (2005)

Failed structural assessment 1999. But repaired and reopened.

Project (2007)

This project was undertaken to input site information listed in 'Civil engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' by R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Publication Account (2007)

Dumbarton Bridge was built in 1765 by John Brown, a builder of considerable repute who was responsible for several public buildings in Scotland. It is of masonry with five segmental arches comprising three spans of 62 ft and two of 42 ft. The clear width between parapet faces was 20 ft.The Leven is fast flowing with a bed of alluvial material of unknown depth. Almost immediately on completion there was failure of one pier and a collapse of two arches. Smeaton, in May 1768, reported on the sunken pier, of which the bottom was about 17 ft below low water. He advised that because of the difficulty and expense of getting the pier out and the great uncertainty of better success with its replacement ‘that the best probable chance’ was to found a new pier on the ruins of the old, lightening the spandrels above by means of three longitudinal cavities, similar to the practice he adopted at Perth Bridge.

This measure is thought by the present maintainers to have been implemented and the pier is still in service.

The bridge was widened in 1884 with 8 ft 6 in. wide cantilevered footpaths carried on steel beams. In 1933 this

steelworkwas found to be badly corroded and was replaced in reinforced concrete during a complete refurbishment of the bridge in 1934 by F. A. Macdonald and Partners. In 1999 the bridge failed a structural assessment, but was again successfully refurbished and reopened in 2005.

R Paxton and J Shipway 2007

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


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