Repair plan to save Leith's historic Victoria Swing Bridge

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Victoria Swing BridgeImage source, LDN Architects
Image caption,
An artist impression of how the Victoria Swing Bridge will look after it has been refurbished

A major investment is to be made to save Leith's historic Victoria Swing Bridge.

Forth Ports has revealed plans to conserve the Category A listed structure with full restoration works, costing a six-figure sum.

The swing bridge was added to the Buildings at Risk register in 2018.

Built in 1874, it crosses docklands either side of the Water of Leith. Edinburgh Council has received a planning application.

The Victoria Swing Bridge, designed by Alexander Rende, is the largest counterweighted swing bridge in Scotland.

The work includes full refurbishment of the northern and southern walkways, re-decking the central carriage way, replacement of the decked turning circle areas and a full repair and repaint of metalwork on the bridge.

The bridge was originally B listed but was upgraded to an A listing in 2014.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
How the Victoria Swing Bridge currently looks

It is constructed of riveted wrought iron, timber and steel. The bridge originally carried a double rail track along its central deck (providing access for both trains and road vehicles) and features pedestrian walkways on either side.

Phase one, the refurbishment of the north and south pedestrian walkways, is expected to be undertaken this year, with the remaining work due in 2022.

Pedestrian access to the bridge will remain open for the duration of the works.

Charles Hammond, Forth Ports group chief executive, said: "The Victoria Swing Bridge is a well kent sight in Leith and it is an important and rare surviving example of our heritage.

"The plans we have submitted to the council have been well thought through and will ensure that the repairs are appropriate for the conservation of this important landmark.

"We want to also create a useable space for the local community and we hope that once the bridge has been restored, people will be able to enjoy this historic space."

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