Leith’s A-listed Victoria Swing Bridge Reopens after Refurbishment by Forth Ports

Kiana GreenanForth Ports

Following a full refurbishment by Forth Ports, the Category A Listed Victoria Swing Bridge located at the Port of Leith, was officially reopened at the weekend with a walk over procession and a colourful community flag parade.

The six figure investment in the refurbishment of the 150 year old bridge, which is the largest counterweighted swing bridge in Scotland, was a programme of specialist works which ensures that the bridge is protected for the future. Repairs were made to the two pedestrian walkways and the central carriageway which included replacing the existing timber decking, steel work repairs and a full repair and repaint of the well-known blue bridge’s metalwork.

The procession included three new 6-metre Leith Flags which were commissioned by The Port of Leith and created in collaboration with Kinetika and the local community. Local Leith MSP Ben Macpherson, the Citadel Youth Centre and members of the Leith community all took part in the bridge walk at the weekend. The colourful flags encapsulate the rich history, the exciting present and ambitious future of Leith through artistic design which has been inspired by local stories, memories and aspirations from the local community.

The reopening of the bridge coincided with a weekend of events as part of the Leith Jazz and Blues Festival and included vintage bus tours around the Port of Leith which were led by the port team themselves.

Commenting on the reopening event, Stuart Wallace, Group Chief Executive Designate at Forth Ports, said: “It is fantastic to be at the reopening of the Victoria Swing Bridge which is an important landmark for the community in Leith. The bridge work is just one part of the exciting ongoing regeneration activity in Leith of which we are proud to be part of. The glorious Leith flags brought colour and creativity to the reopening bridge procession and we are excited to show these flags off to the community.

“We are grateful to everyone who collaborated in the creation of the flags and I hope the local community enjoyed the vintage bus tours of the port. I know our team had a great time leading the tours and showing the dramatic, innovative redevelopment taking place as we build Scotland’s largest offshore renewables hub.”

The reopening of the Victoria Swing Bridge, coupled with the refurbishments and reopening of the Rennie’s Isle Bridge last year by Teuchters Landing, ensure that the people of Leith have better access around the local shore area. Further work will continue next year on the Victoria Swing Bridge with the refurbishment of the timber decked turning circles. This work will not impact on access for people crossing 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 (NB: see Notes to Editors for more detailed information).

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