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British Industrial History

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Mertoun Bridge

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JD 2018 Mertoun2.jpg

near St. Boswells, west of Kelso, Scottish Borders

Takes the B6404 road from St Boswells to Mertoun over the River Tweed.

The sandstone bridge has five shallow (large radius) segmental arches. The masonry piers have rounded cutwaters.

The arches have a remarkably small rise of just 6 ft for a span of 70 ft. As originally built in 1839–41, by William Smith of Montrose, it had wooden arches. The three arch ribs had five laminations of 12 in. by 6 in., bound together with iron straps. These supported a wooden deck. The designer, James Slight of Edinburgh, made provision in the design for replacing the timber with masonry if required at a later date.[1]

The bridge was rebuilt using stone in 1886.

For more information, see Canmore entry[2]

The old Mertoun Mill and an oblique weir are located a short distance upstream.

1886 'Mertoun Bridge. — Operations in connection with the building of the new stone arches on Mertoun Bridge have been in progress for some time. The service bridge was completed some time ago, and after having been inspected by the engineers it is now open for traffic and the old bridge closed. Workmen have been taking down the old wooden arches, and building operations will be commenced shortly. When finished the bridge will be a very strong and substantial piece of work. Mr Adams, Glasgow, is the contractor. The Local Authority of St Boswells have made arrangements with Mr Adams for relaying the water-pipes on the new bridge and for continuing the supply during the progress of the works.'[3]

1886 'The Mertoun Bridge. — As formerly reported great damage was done by a heavy flood in the Tweed to the works in connection with the new bridge at Mertoun. Under a different method, the work of reconstruction has since been vigorously prosecuted in supporting the centres, and which has been so successfully carried out that the keystone of the last arch was placed on Saturday forenoon; and now, with the exception of the service bridge, the works are so far advanced as to be practically independent of any flood that may occur.'[4]

The contractors for rebuilding the bridge were W. and T. Adams of Callander.[5]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 'Civil Engineering Heritage - Scotland Lowlands and Borders' by Roland Paxton and Jim Shipway, RCAHMS/ICE/Thomas Telford, 2007
  2. [1] Canmore website - Mertoun Bridge
  3. Southern Reporter - Thursday 12 August 1886
  4. Southern Reporter - Thursday 23 December 1886
  5. Edinburgh Evening News - Tuesday 22 May 1888