Union Chain Bridge. View from Scottish side towards England.
Union Chain Bridge. View from Scottish side towards England. © Leon Walsh
Union Chain Bridge. View from Scottish side towards England. © Leon Walsh

Historic England Funds Restoration of World’s Oldest Working Vehicular Suspension Bridge

Historic England has awarded Northumberland County Council £250,000 towards the restoration of the world’s oldest working vehicular suspension bridge.

Spanning the River Tweed, the Union Chain Bridge was built in 1820. It was a major transport link between England and Scotland for two centuries.

Designed by Royal Navy Captain Samuel Brown, the timber bridge deck is suspended by wrought iron chains.  On the Scottish side these pass over a masonry pylon and are anchored to the ground, while on the English side the chains are fixed into the rock face.

The grant from Historic England will fund essential repairs to the anchoring mechanisms and masonry attached to the rock face on the English side of the Grade I-listed bridge.

These repairs to the the Union Chain Bridge are part of a multi-million pound cross-border project to regenerate the entire structure.

Historic England is also contributing to a range of community development and education activities, celebrating the historical significance of the bridge.

The Union Chain Bridge is one of the most majestic and historically important bridges in the North East and Scotland. We are proud to be playing a key role in this cross-border restoration project, which will hopefully help secure the bridge’s future for the next 200 years.

Charles Smith, Acting Regional Director, North East and Yorkshire Historic England
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