Union Chain Bridge

The future of the oldest suspension bridge in the world that still carries vehicles has been secured. Grade I Listed Union Chain Bridge which has provided a transport link between Scotland and England for 200 years, has received £3.14 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to allow a major programme of repairs to get underway in 2020.

The funding bid was put together by Northumberland County Council (NCC), Scottish Borders Council (SBC), Museums Northumberland and community group Friends of the Union Chain Bridge. Both Councils have committed match funding and have a programme of ambitious activities to provide exciting opportunities for people to explore the heritage and stories of the Union Chain Bridge, and hopefully inspire a new generation of engineers from communities on both sides of the Bridge.

Spence & Dower LLP were commissioned in January 2017 to advise both Councils on all conservation aspects of the necessary repairs, as well as the production of a Conservation Management Plan and Condition Survey of the masonry pylons. The bridge is currently on both Historic England’s and Historic Scotland’s ‘At Risk Registers’.

A previous bid to The National Lottery Heritage Fund enabled Spence & Dower to arrange and oversee detailed investigations to assess the condition of every element of the bridge and how best to undertake the conservation and repair works.

Spence & Dower’s contract for overseeing the conservation repair works will continue until April 2021 and the bridge’s bicentenary will be recognised in July 2020.

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