The Doric Columns
VICTORIA BRIDGE 1881
Built in 1880–1881, the new Victoria Bridge connected Torry directly to Aberdeen and helped a large fishing township to grow up on the south side of the River Dee. Among the boats hauled ashore in this painting of the 'Cutting' (the River Dee's new channel), the closest is the 'Morning Star' of the Downies Village.
The natural course of the Southern section of the River Dee estuary lies slightly to the North of its present course. Aberdeen was an increasingly expanding City with its Dockside Trade and Fishing in the 19th century. The original Harbour was deemed to be too small for this expansion and the idea was mooted to divert the course of the River Dee slightly to the South. This would have the effect of enlarging the Harbour area and create a further Docks and Quaysides, which was necessary to accommodate the expanding Trade. The River Dee was therefore diverted in 1868 to its present course and the Albert Quay created. The Council were initially keen to build a bridge to Torry on the Southern side, over this newly diverted River, as this would open up a new area for expansion and allow the building of more Industrial and Residential accommodation. After a great deal of argument, this proposal foundered, but after a Ferry Disaster in 1876, when 32 people died, the idea was taken up again and this Bridge was built in 1881. A plaque on the Bridge notes the Ferry Disaster which occurred in the Harbour Navigation Channel between Torry and Footdee .
In 1868 a Harbour Act was obtained for the erection of the South Breakwater, the extension of the North Pier, and the diversion of the River Dee. These works involved the expenditure of a large sum of money, which mounted up to £500,000 before they were completed. Mr J W Barclay - the Shore Master - and others wished the Town Council to take in hand also the purchase of Torry Farm as an investment sure to be highly remunerative if a Bridge were made for the new channel of the River, and they proposed that the Bridge should be built before the diversion was effected. The Provost - Mr Alexander Nicol - and others, thinking they had enough in hand, objected to the purchase of Torry Farm, though not averse to building the bridge. The progressive party in the Council purchased half of Torry Farm in a somewhat irregular manner, litigation followed, the purchase was not completed, and the erection of the Bridge was postponed indefinitely.
The Local Foundry Proposals
Bridge consists of 5 arches, 60'-6"; 63'-6"; 66'-0"; 63'-6"; and 60'-6" in width. It is 342
feet long and 40 feet broad. There are 4 piers in the River, each resting on
3 caissons which were intended to be sunk to 27 feet below the surface of
the River, but owing to the nature of the strata under the River some of them
were sunk to 42 feet. The caissons were sunk by weighting them with iron up to
120 tons; the interior was excavated and thrown out; a plug of cement was put
in at the bottom to exclude water; and the interior was filled with concrete.
Masonry was built upon the top of the caissons, and the 3 small piers were
joined together above water by 2 arches, so that the Bridge presents the
strange appearance of 2 arch-ways through each pier. This reduces the area of
the bases upon which the Bridge stands, but it has shown no sign of weakness
notwithstanding the heavy loads it frequently has to bear. It is a beautiful
Bridge, but the coping is not "throated," and the piers are stained with iron
oxide from the standards of the lamps upon the parapets.
Victoria Bridge, over the Dee's new channel, in a line with Market Street and Cross Quay, is a granite 5-arch structure, opened on 2 July 1881, having cost £25,000. The Bridge
Edward L J Blyth (Edinburgh), Engineer, 5-span segmental arched bridge over River Dee. Rough-faced grey granite with ashlar to piers and parapet. Rounded cutwaters with advanced piers with round arched panels above. Coped panelled parapet with decorative cast iron lamp stands to each pier
The banks had
The bridge also has facilities for carrying water and gas services across the river.
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