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Clydesholm Bridge

A Category A Listed Building in Lanark, South Lanarkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.6755 / 55°40'31"N

Longitude: -3.8004 / 3°48'1"W

OS Eastings: 286872

OS Northings: 643918

OS Grid: NS868439

Mapcode National: GBR 12XT.09

Mapcode Global: WH5SJ.LLGX

Entry Name: Clydesholm Bridge

Listing Date: 12 January 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 381956

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB37032

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Lanark

County: South Lanarkshire

Town: Lanark

Unitary Authority Ward: Clydesdale North

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

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Description

John Lockhart of Birkenhead, Lanark, 1696-99. 3-span bridge with large semicircular arches and massive piers with triangular cutwaters, extended up to form pedestrian refuges to both upstream and downstream sides. Squared rubble (more regularly sized blocks to parapet). Narrow voussoirs. Wing walls stepped outwards at either end. Carriageway level raised in 20th century necessitating raised parapet.

Statement of Interest

B-Group with 'Mousemill Road, Kirkfieldbank, Old Bridgend'.

Clydesholm Bridge is of outstanding importance not only as one of the few surviving late 17th century bridges in Scotland but also as the oldest surviving crossing of the River Clyde. It is also significant because it was one of the first bridges to be built without ribs. The massive piers with their triangular cutwaters carried up to provide pedestrian refuges and the semi-circular arches are typical of the period.

The bridge lay on the main road from Carlisle to Glasgow, via Hamilton, until Thomas Telford's Glasgow-Carlisle road was completed in the early 1820s. Prior to its erection the Clyde had to be crossed by means of the ferry-boat, or forded above the islands lying just to the S up-river from this point. The bridge continued to carry main road traffic until 1956 when a new concrete bride was erected to the N. It is now used as a footbridge only.

The Burgh of Lanark first took steps to erect a bridge over the Clyde at Clydesholm in 1649. They approached the Scottish Parliament in March of that year to ask permission to collect a voluntary contribution from all shires, presbyteries and parishes in the kingdom. Although Parliament granted this, the matter was taken no further at this time, probably because of unrest during Cromwell's campaigns and the subsequent period of uncertainty. However the project was revived in 1694 when on 16 May an Act of Council granted authority to make voluntary contribution throughout the kingdom. The following year the Burgh approached the Privy Council to obtain aid for the building scheme. Building work commenced in 1696 and continued until 1699. John Lockhart of Birkenhead who had initially (along with William Loukup of Drumlanrig) given advice about the situation of the bridge was appointed master of works at a salary of 20s per day in 1695 and in the following year his plans were adopted. In 1699 he received a further 'fiftie merks Scottis as a gratuite for his good service at the bridge'.

At various times the strength of the bridge was tested. In the late 18th century it was reported that 'from the late great weight of earth laid upon the abutment next the town, it is somewhat doubtful whether it may not be hurt by it' whilst in the early years of the twentieth century 'it has withstood many a heavy flood, the current occasionally reaching within a few inches of the top of the arches'.

Formerly a Scheduled Ancient Monument. De-scheduled 15 December 1998.

List description updated 2010.

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