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.
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.