Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Kalemouth Suspension Bridge

Suspension Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Kalemouth Suspension Bridge

Classification Suspension Bridge (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) River Teviot; Melrose

Canmore ID 58251

Site Number NT72NW 38

NGR NT 70842 27453

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Eckford
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Roxburgh
  • Former County Roxburghshire

Archaeology Notes

NT72NW 38 70842 27453

For adjacent (to E) Kalemouth Cottage, see NT72NW 39.

Not to be confused with Kalemouth Bridge (over Kale water, at NT 70939 27512), for which see NT72NW 81.

(Location cited as NT 709 274). Suspension bridge, Kalemouth, probably c. 1820-30. A most interesting early suspension bridge with a wooden-truss span supported by iron link chains and iron-rod suspenders. The ashlar pillars are of pyramidal form.

J R Hume 1976.

(Suspension bridge of Samual Brown chain type). Probably built c. 1820-1830 by Samuel Brown, engineer, and William Mather, Kalemouth, contractor. Pyramidal masonry pylons, single iron link chain (2 links wide) on each side, iron rod suspenders and wooden truss span. Additional suspenders have been added at the mid-points of the chain links. Length 180 ft (54.9m). Public road bridge.

J R Hume 1977b.

Kalemouth Suspension Bridge, c. 1830. Captain samuel Brown, engineer. 54m long, 5m wide. Twin stone pylons at each end, wooden deck and railings suspended by iron rods fixed to the centres of chain links. Tolls presumably paid at Kalemouth Cottage (NT72NW 39). Now improved.

C A Strang 1994.

This bridge carries an unclassified public road across the River Teviot, just above the mouth of the Kale water. The river here forms the boundary between the parishes of Eckford (to the E) and Crailing (to W).

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 21 July 1998.


Construction (1835)

By CAptain S. Brown RN, chain maker.

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)

This is a rare operational example of an early wrought-iron chain-bar suspension bridge. It was made and erected over the Teviot in ca.1835 by chain manufacturer Capt. S. Brown, RN. The span is 186 ft and the timber deck almost 9 ft wide at the suspension pillars. The bridge has double chains at each side of the deck consisting of 10 ft by 2 in. diameter rods with hand-forged eyes and short interconnecting links. The chains are suspended from pairs of ashlar pylons at each end of the bridge. With a sag–span ratio of about 1:14 the chains have amore efficient curvature in terms of their load bearing capacity than Brown adopted at Union Bridge in 1820. A comparison between Union and Kalemouth bridges demonstrates the evolution of Brown’s practice. Other improvements on Union Bridge at Kalemouth were the cross bolting of each pair of chains and the provision against oscillation by means of robust timber lattice parapets. The masonry of the bridge was the work of William Mather, Kalemouth. In 1845 the toll for a pedestrian was a halfpenny, for a horse and cart three pence, and for a chaise one shilling.

In 1987 the bridge was tastefully reconditioned by Borders Regional Council. The timber was renewed, the pylons were refurbished and the pins and short interconnecting main chain links were replaced using spheroidal graphite iron. In 1990 new cable anchorages were installed.

R Paxton and J Shipway 2007

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering Heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' with kind permission from Thoomas Telford Publishers.

Sbc Note

Visibility: Standing structure or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions