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Bridge Of Dee, Ruthrieston, Aberdeen

A Category A Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Latitude: 57.1229 / 57°7'22"N

Longitude: -2.1189 / 2°7'7"W

OS Eastings: 392901

OS Northings: 803557

OS Grid: NJ929035

Mapcode National: GBR S8J.51

Mapcode Global: WH9QX.F77C

Plus Code: 9C9V4VFJ+5F

Entry Name: Bridge Of Dee, Ruthrieston, Aberdeen

Listing Name: Stonehaven Road and Anderson Drive South, Bridge of Dee, over River Dee, Including Sundial

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 354514

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20068

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: Kincorth/Nigg/Cove

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Thomas Franche master mason, Alexander Galloway (minister of Kinkel) master of works, dated 1520 and 1523; substantially repaired/rebuilt 1718-19 by Alexander Riach; further repairs and widening to W, John Smith, 1840-1842. 7-span ribbed round arches with chamfered reveals. Coursed granite ashlar lightly stugged; coped parapet. Splayed wing walls, buttresses, cylindrical terminations with polygonal caps and ball finials; ironwork railings to approaches; square-plan stone sundial to SE wing wall, replacement gnomon, tooled to S edge "AQ MR O BW 1719". Cutwater-refuges decorated with coats of arms and tooled inscriptions, bearing a variety of dates.

Statement of Interest

Until the later 19th century the Bridge of Dee was "the only great thoroughfare over the Dee from Aberdeen to the south" (Groome, p12). In 1448 the first mention of the inconvenience of the ferryboat across the Dee was made by the Council, and the search for a suitable site begun. The bridge was finally begun in the 16th century with the help of a bequest from Bishop Elphinstone of £20,000. Elphinstone died in 1514, by which time the stone had been acquired from Morayshire, but no work had taken place. Bishop Gavin Dunbar was his successor, and took on the building of the bridge, having invested some money in it himself. The majority of the work was complete by 1530, but it was not completely finished until after Dunbar's death. In the middle of the 16th century a chapel was built near the NE corner, and a timber port (gateway) was built to watch for undesirables. The wooden port required so much maintenance that it was replaced in 1597 by a stone one. The chapel and port were removed towards the end of the 18th century. By 1720 the bridge was decaying, so was repaired by the Magistrates and Town Council of Aberdeen, using its own funds. In 1840, after strong competition from Archibald Simpson, John Smith, the City Architect, was employed to widen the bridge from 11'6" to 26', which he did with some advice from James Walker, C.E., Westminster, afterwards replacing the original facings. The bridge has a variety of coats of arms on it, among which is that of Bishop Elphinstone, Bishop Gavin Dunbar, and the City of Aberdeen, those on the SW pillar are probably the oldest. The tooled letters on the sundial stand for Alexander Watson, Master of Bridge Works, 1719.

Previously a Scheduled Monument. Descheduled on 16 February 2009.

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