A majestic, extremely important and yet seemingly hidden, wrought iron suspension bridge.
The Friends of the Union Chain Bridge was founded to support the preservation of the Union Chain Bridge and to conserve, protect and enhance its immediate environment for public benefit. It is a community based organisation which aims to promote the historical and engineering importance of the unique structure both locally and internationally by the advancement of education, information and appreciation of it.
By becoming a member you will receive a leaflet about the bridge, a postcard showing Nasmyth’s painting of the bridge, a car sticker – please do display! – and regular email up-dates about progress on the restoration of the bridge. You can Apply Online.
Northumberland County Council together with Scottish Borders Council is making a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to obtain money to restore the bridge in time for 2020. The Friends group has support from James Fell, Heritage officer at NCC who is preparing the lottery bid. It is critical for this bid that public support is shown. It is everybody’s bridge after all! So, become a friend and once you do so send off some letters to anybody you think might give the bridge some publicity. Or tweet about it.. Or ‘like’ the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge Facebook page!
Captain Samuel Brown’s Union Chain Bridge over the River Tweed near Paxton is a majestic, extremely important and yet seemingly hidden, wrought iron suspension bridge. Some have described its design, and that of others, as a ‘web of iron,’ conjuring an image of a spider throwing its delicate, glimmering threads across a valley. It ‘unites’ England with Scotland and, completed in 1820, is fast approaching its 200th birthday.
The original crossing was a perilous ford, slightly downstream from where the bridge was eventually built. When the river was high there could be loss of cargo and even of life, and until the completion of the Union Bridge no other bridge crossed the Tweed between Berwick and Coldstream. In addition to the risk posed by the ford, it was a need to the transport coal and lime from Northumberland to Berwickshire where it was used in agriculture that further warranted the construction of a new bridge.