Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,469 pages of information and 245,911 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Meiklewood Bridge (1831)

From Graces Guide

near Gargunnock, west of Stirling

Constructed by James Smith in 1831.

1848 'MEIKLEWOOD SUSPENSION BRIDGE. We regret to say that this handsome and useful structure across the Forth, which was erected 17 years ago by the late Colonel Graham of Meiklewood, fell into the river a few days since, in consequence of the dry rot having seized the principal timbers.— This bridge was erected on the thrust and tension principle, which is the same as that which sustains the tube lately erected across the Conway [?], having a span of 400 feet. The span of Meiklewood Bridge was 101 feet, and as a proof of the strength of this principle of structure, the bridge continued to carry heavily loaded carts for months, if not for years, after the dry rot had so pervaded the main timbers, that almost the whole body of the beams were decayed. The main beams were of Memel, of excellent quality, and had not the slightest appearance of taint or rot when erected. The disease had partially extended to the eye-rights and other parts of the wood work. On the Thursday preceding the fall, five carts heavily loaded with barley passed along the bridge with safety. Slight symptoms of the decay were observed on Saturday. The bridge fell when no one was upon it, and when parties sent to inspect it were just approaching. The wreck is now being removed from the bed of the river; but, from the excellence of the iron material and closeness of the fittings, there is great difficulty in getting the structure asunder. The want of communication between the counties of Perth and Stirling, at this point, is seriously felt, and we have no doubt but that measures will speedily be taken for having the bridge, which has so unfortunately fallen, replaced. — Stirling Journal.'[1]

J. G. James described it as an inverted bowstring bridge, and provided a small sketch[2] showing a bridge with 'ladder' beams (two horizontal beams, one corresponding to the deck and one supporting the deck, with a series of vertical members between them). Presumably these were made of wood. Suspension chains, attached to deeply embedded frames, passed well below the deck at mid-span. Some of the vertical members of the bridge structure were extended downwards to connect with the suspension chains.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Glasgow Courier, 8 June 1848
  2. 'The Evolution of Iron Bridge Trusses to 1850' by J. G. James, Newcomen Society, 1981