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Union Canal, Bridge No. 61

Road Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Union Canal, Bridge No. 61

Classification Road Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Glen Bridge, Glen Village Bridge

Canmore ID 46775

Site Number NS87NE 35

NGR NS 88514 78225

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Falkirk
  • Parish Falkirk
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Falkirk
  • Former County Stirlingshire

Archaeology Notes

NS87NE 35 88514 78225

The bridge carrying the B803 road over the Union Canal at Glen Village shows no serial number, but the projecting keystones bear human masks - laughing on the E side and weeping on the W - and above each of them appears the date 1821 on a panel defined by a cable moulding.

Visited by RCAHMS, 1964

RCAHMS 1963.

As the canal passes through a deep cutting at this point, a greater arch was required to span it. The bridge, known as the laughin', greetin' bridge, has a laughing face carved in the keystone to the E and a miserable face on the west keystone. A possible explanation has been postulated that the contractor undertaking the easy section to the E became rich, whereas the tunnel and locks to the W caused that contractor to go bankrupt.

G Hutton 1993.

Serial number 61 can be distinguished above the date 1821 on panel defined by cable moulding above keystones bearing human masks.

Information from Mr I Fleming, Broxburn, August 1996.

This much photographed bridge has carved faces above both keystones. There is a smiling, radiant face on the E and a miserable, glum face on the W. The reasons behind the differing physiognomies are debateable, a suggestion being that pleasure is being shown at the length of canal built from Edinburgh and apprehension at the task to the W of constructing what is likely to have been the first transport tunnel in Scotland. Ovals set into the bridge above the faces give the number of the bridge, 61, and the date of 1821. Access to the canal is furnished at this point via a long ramp from the bridge. The bridge also spans the Glen Burn.

H Brown 1997.

This bridge, which carries a minor road over the canal, is clearly marked on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Stirlingshire 1864, sheet xxx), on the 2nd edition of the OS 6-inch map (Stirlingshire 1899, sheet xxx NE), on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map and on the OS Basic Scale digital map (2000).

Information from RCAHMS (MD) 3 May 2001.

Architecture Notes

2001 survey material is stored under 'Union Canal' in the NMRS.


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