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Lesser Bridges

The 'Old Bridge of Dee', formerly Granyford Bridge, was built between 1737 and 1740.

Old Bridge of Dee: 4-arched stone bridge of whinstone and granite dating from the early 18th century, crosses the River Dee near Bridge of Dee village. Until 1825 this carried the main route through Galloway, but was replaced because of its narrowness and difficulty of access. A 4-span bridge with semicircular arches and triangular cutwaters.  Circa 1737. Previously known as Granny Ford bridge, this rubble-built 4-archer is the best-preserved 18th century bridge in the area. Carriageway still perilously narrow, and escaped improvement thanks to the construction of the Threave Bridge.  This bridge carries an unclassified public road across the River Dee to the SE of the village. The river here forms the boundary between the parishes of Kelton (to the S) and Balmaghie (to the N)..

Threave Bridge: 3-arched granite bridge over the River Dee, built c. 1825 (probably to a design of Telford) on the Dumfries-Portpatrick turnpike, to replace the much older Bridge of Dee nearby. Bridge, built c. 1825. A fine, 3-span masonry bridge, with segmental arches and rounded cutwaters. The masonry is rusticated.

Threave Bridge: 3 segmental arches of hammer-dressed granite spanning the Dee: rounded cutwaters. It was built in 1825, and widened in 1986-7.  Threave Bridge, widened in 1986 by Barr and Co, doubled the width of the carriageway to the South. The South elevation recladded with the original granite masonry, although the original slightly curved profile has been straightened.  This bridge carries the A75 (T) public road across the River Dee to the NE of Bridge of Dee village. The river here forms the boundary between the parishes of Kelton (to the E) and Balmaghie (to the W).

Invercauld Bridge, tollhouse ('lodge') at North end of Bridge, This Bridge, on the line of the Military road, and closed September 1859.  Built 1752 by Engineer Major William Caulfield.  A remarkable 6-arch, hump-backed rubble bridge with segmental arches that increase in size to the centre. Now by-passed by the new Invercauld Bridge.

Old Invercauld Bridge: a 6-span, hump-backed bridge of rubble, each span having a different size. It stands on a rocky bend in the River, with reefs of rock across the flow; Caulfield had to do some blasting to prepare the site.  Looking at it from the downstream [SE] side, the largest span is the 3rd from the right bank, under the highest point of the roadway, but the 2nd is also a fair size. The 5th and 6th, which are hidden by trees and normally on completely dry land, are very small, the last measuring only 10ft [3.05m] across and 54ins [1.37m] high. These 2 are effectively flood arches, whereas the 1st on the far bank is not.  This asymmetry in no way detracts from the bridge's appearance.  Rather, it enhances it, as do the unusual tall triangular cutwaters, which have roofs of large flags.  The parapet is high at the hump, a good 50ins [1.27m] but it comes down to 23ins [0.58m] before the ends, which are splayed on the North side. It is 17ins [0.43m] wide and topped with flat stones of different sizes.

Old Invercauld Bridge, 1753, Major Caulfield. Military bridge to link Blairgowrie with Corgarff and Inverness. Humpbacked, high segmented arch, with lesser arches ay each side, and massive V-cutwaters. Superseded in 1859 by the New Invercauld Bridge.

This bridge carries the former line of the A93 public road over the River Dee a short distance to the SE of the present Invercauld Bridge.   For origin of this road as a Military road.
New Invercauld Bridge was commissioned by Prince Albert in 1859, when the old bridge was taken out of service. It has 3 main spans with oculi in the spandrels. The name of its Engineer is unknown, but William Smith, the Architect of Balmoral, may have been retained for this Bridge also.  G Nelson 1990.  Invercauld Bridge was built by J F Beattie at the expense of Prince Albert, who closed the old South Desside Commutation Road between here and Balmoral in order to protect his privacy.


The Shakin' Briggie

The bridge now stands derelict on the north bank of the Dee, straddling a stretch of scrubland after being marooned by a change in the River’s course. 

St. Devenick's Bridge, which crosses the Dee from Ardoe to Cults, was built in 1837 to link the now ruined Banchory-Devenick Parish Church, on the South bank of the Dee, with its parishoners, who lived on the north bank. It was officially named St. Devenick's Bridge, but is popularly known by Aberdonians as the Shakin' Briggie, or as Morrison Bridge after the local Minister Rev Dr Morrison who funded the Bridge at the time, the cast-iron structure got its nickname for its propensity to shake every time a pedestrian crossed the 180ft span.  The footbridge was damaged by floods in 1876 and 1920, and was reconstructed in the 1920s. However, due to erosion, the Dee shifted its course in the 1970s and 1980s, sweeping away the southern approach spans, and in 1984 the decking was removed as a safety precaution.  The bridge is a Grade A listed structure and there are plans to restore it.  The total cost is likely to be 3 times the cost of a new cycle and pedestrian bridge.

The Thieves' Bridge
For a long period the place where criminals were executed was the Gallow Hill, which was reached by Justice Street and Park Street. This street was the way to various enclosed pieces of grazing ground, to which the townsmen sent their cows in summer. It crossed the Powcreek Burn, in the line of Jasmine Terrace, by a small Bridge which criminals passed over on the way to execution. These being mostly thieves the Bridge was called the Thieves' Brig.
 A Charter of Andrew Ancroft mentions the Thevisbrig or Thieves Bridge - this crossed the Powcreek Burn between the Castlehill and the Gallow Hill. It was so called because it was crossed en route to the gallows - In a charter it is called ponte latronum.

Ruthrieston Packhorse BridgeThe Pack Bridge - on the Riverside Road leading to the Old Bridge of Dee

An old stone bridge with low parapets dating from 1693. It once carried the main road into Aberdeen from the Brig o' Dee and has since been reconstructed near to its original position.

(formerly known as the Ruthrieston Bridge) it was dismantled and moved and rebuilt 30 metres eastwards to Riverside Drive in 1923.

Ruthrieston Pack Bridge, is the only surviving example of a pack horse bridge in this area of Scotland, was described by Fraser as an "exceedingly well built bridge, of dressed granite" . It would appear that the bridge was first mentioned in the Town Council Minutes in 1541 as the "blind bryg", however what became of this bridge is not known. The present bridge was built with stones from the quarry in Hill of Pitfoddels over 150 years later. Despite being moved in 1923, Ruthrieston Pack Bridge survives in good condition. The parapet is a later addition, the original parapets being long gone even in 1910.

The main loss is the weathering of the two coats of arms. That to the left is of Aberdeen City, with 3 towers supported by 2 leopards, and the motto "Bon Accord"; while that to the right belongs to Robert Cruickshank of Banchory (Devenick), who was Provost at the time the bridge was built, and added his coat of arms without the Council's permission. In 1698 when he ceased to be provost the Council demanded the stone be removed and that Cruickshank should pay for a new stone, on which would be a Latin inscription. When Cruickshank refused to pay his stone was turned round and the inscription carved on the reverse. It was not until the bridge was repaired in 1877 that the stone was turned back to display the coat of arms. In 1796, the Southbound road layout changed and traffic was diverted from the bridge.

Provost Robert Cruickshank's coat of arms on Ruthrieston Pack Bridge, which he had installed without being first sanctioned by the City Council. He refused to remove it and the Master of Bridgeworks turned the panel over and had engraved a Latin inscription recording that the bridge was erected out of funds mortified for the upkeep of the Bridge of Dee. By 1705 the stone was again reversed and Cruickshank's coat of arms with 3 Boars Heads was visible again.

Latin inscription on the reverse of that stone reads "Senatus Abredonensis hunc pontem impensis ex aere ad pontem deae spectante extruendum curavit anno 1693".

In 1876, Ruthrieston South Church began its life in the old school of Ruthrieston, and was intended to provide religious services for the outlying part of the Parish of Ruthrieston, near the Bridge of Dee, splitting from Holburn Central. After 2 years larger accommodation was required, and in 1881 the "Iron Kirkie" was opened (now demolished), near the Old Ruthrieston Pack Bridge. Increasing numbers again lead to the need for improved facilities, and "the corner-stone of the church was laid on 3rd September, 1890, by the Very Rev. Dr. A.K.H.Boyd, of St Andrews". The church was completed in 1891 at a cost of £2250. The church halls were built in 1904 "according to an excellent and handsome design", which was then further extended in 1971. With the exception of minor alterations most of the church exterior and interior survive intact.


Grandholme Bridge over the River Don c.1900
The present Grandholm Bridge is a private Bridge, constructed for the Crombie Mills in the 1920s. Access to the bridge, other than for pedestrians and bicycles, is now controlled by an electronically activated barrier, passes for which are made available to residents of the housing development constructed on the site of the Mills in 2004.


The entrance to the Canal through Waterloo Quay was crossed by a substantial wooden bridge, put on in 1834 when the sea loch connecting the Canal with the harbour was formed. It was. removed when the railway was made. Of the original bridges over the Canal No 1 connected Virginia Street with Canal Terrace. This bridge was also removed when the railway was made. Canal Terrace, formerly a pleasant residential street, was curtailed in length and reduced in width by the railway and became an unimportant place.

Bridge No 2 gave access to the Links from the Bowl Road, now Albion Street, When the Banner Mill was erected this bridge was the chief approach to the mill for the workers; but it is not much used now since the stoppage of cotton-spinning and the closing of the mill. Bridge No 3 carried Constitution Street over the Canal, and now it carries it over the railway. No 4 is in Park Street. Formerly the bridge was at the end of Jasmine Terrace, and was called the Thieves' Brig. When the Canal was made it drained to some extent the low lying marshy ground on the east side of King Street; the Powcreek Burn became a sewer; and the Thieves' Brig was removed and erected over the Canal.

Before the formation of King Street the Thieves' Brig was of more importance that it was in the last century. Farmers from Buchan and Formartine on their way to Aberdeen crossed the Don at the Brig of Balgownie and held on the way to Old Aberdeen. At Seaton Place many turned eastward, and passing Seaton Brickworks, went along the Links and crossed the Powcreek Burn by the Thieves' Brig. Going along Park Street they entered the Castlegate by the Justice Port, considered the chief entrance from the north before King Street was made. Bridge No.5 was in King Street and, as the town for long did not extend farther than the bridge, beyond it the name changed to North Road. The Customs station, however, was a little farther out, at the end of Nelson Street. Here butter and eggs and other country produce paid a tax before being allowed to enter the town. This irksome toll was given up by the Town Council in 1879No.6 and No.7 were in Nelson Street and Mounthooly, where there are still bridges occupying the same sites as the old. No.8 was in the line of Canal Road, which after crossing the Canal was met at a right angle by Froghall Terrace. The bridge was shifted a hundred yards to the north-west when the railway was made. No.9 was farther west than the bridge on Bedford Road. Part of the wing wall of the old bridge may be seen near Kittybrewster South Cabin. By the look of the bridge at Erskine Street one would suppose, that it had been constructed with the stones of No.9. Some of the Canal bridges served for the railway, but others were too high or too low and had to be taken down and rebuilt. No.10 was at the Boat-House at the head of the Brae Road, and it gave the people of Old Aberdeen access to the Canal boats.

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Last modified: 01/09/2013