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Union Bridge, Aberdeen

A Category B Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Latitude: 57.1458 / 57°8'44"N

Longitude: -2.1014 / 2°6'5"W

OS Eastings: 393962

OS Northings: 806109

OS Grid: NJ939061

Mapcode National: GBR SBZ.QF

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.PNJ9

Plus Code: 9C9V4VWX+8C

Entry Name: Union Bridge, Aberdeen

Listing Name: Union Street Viaduct

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 354523

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20077

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Tagged with: Road bridge

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Charles Abercrombie and others, from 1800. Viaduct, carrying Union Street, from Adelphi to Diamond Street, built on series of arches. Union Bridge, Thomas Fletcher and others, 1802-1805. Widened by William Dyack, 1905, later alterations to S in 1964. Single span segmental arch bridge with tall, projecting, battered piers with large central semicircular arched niches. Coursed, tooled granite with deep channelled, rock faced rustication to lower section of abutments; channelled ashlar to piers. Painted cast iron parapet to N with pierced panels interspersed with small columns, alternated with small leopard finials. Open elliptical steel span arch fixed to N (1905-8).

Statement of Interest

Union Street viaduct and Union Bridge are the essential components which enabled 19th century Aberdeen to be opened up to the West. The viaduct and the 40 metre span bridge are major feats of engineering and bold and imaginative town planning. The bridge carried Union Street over the Denburn Valley.

The bridge began in 1801 to designs by David Hamilton, the Glasgow based architect, for a 3-arched bridge. These plans was found to have some design faults and Thomas Fletcher, the architect for the Trustees concerned with the new building plans for Aberdeen, submitted a new design for a single span arch. Thomas Telford made some suggestions as to how these designs could be improved, including the battering of the piers, but it is as yet unclear if these suggestions were adhered to. The road above the bridge was widened in 1905-8 by William Dyack, who inserted steel spans to the sides of bridge. This work was overseen by William Kelly who added the parapet and the leopards statuettes. The parapet was manufactured by Walter McFarlane & Co at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow. Scotland had a thriving, productive ironfounding industry in the latter half of the 19th century and Walter McFarlane and Co, Glasgow was an architectural ironfoundery with an international reputation, whose designs found their way to countries across the globe. The South side of the bridge was further widened in 1964 when a row of shops was added.

Union Street developed after 1794, when a town council meeting asked the engineer Charles Abercrombie to find a way to connect the original steep, muddled Medieval streets of Aberdeen to the surrounding countryside. His plan was for two streets, one of which would run from Castlegate to the Denburn and the other which would run from the Castlegate to the North of the town. The former became Union Street. This was a particularly difficult project to complete as the street had to cut through St Katherine's Hill at the East end and be built on a series of arches culminating with this large bridge which crossed over the Denburn.

References from previous list description: A.P.S.D. Engraved Plans. Aberdeen Journal June 22nd 1905, October 14th 1907, May 9th 1908.

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