Forth Ports plans full repair of Leith’s A-Listed Victoria swing bridge

Mark McIntyre Forth Ports

Forth Ports has today (6 September) announced plans to fully repair the Category A Listed Victoria Swing Bridge located at the Port of Leith to conserve the bridge for the future and create a useable space for the local community.

The private six figure investment will see the bridge, which is the largest counterweighted swing bridge in Scotland, fully repaired, with a phased programme of specialist works which will protect the character and form of the bridge.

Forth Ports’ plans are outlined in a Listed Building Consent application which has been lodged with City of Edinburgh Council (CEC). The proposed repair programme is to be carried out in phases and includes:

  • The full refurbishment of the northern and southern walkways
  • Re-decking the central carriage way
  • Replacement of the decked turning circle areas
  • A full repair and repaint of metalwork on the bridge

The Victoria Swing Bridge was designed by Alexander Rendel and opened in 1874 to provide an efficient road and railway route for the port following the completion of construction of Albert Dock in 1869. The bridge was originally B listed but was upgraded to an A listing in 2014. It is constructed of riveted wrought iron, timber and steel and 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.

Following receipt of Listed Building Consent from the Council, Phase I – the refurbishment of the north and south pedestrian walkways – is expected to be undertaken this year, with the remaining work anticipated being undertaken in 2022. Pedestrian access to the bridge for the local community will be maintained for the duration of the works.

Commenting on the project, Charles Hammond, Group Chief Executive at Forth Ports, 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.”