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University of Necastle Upon TyneTyne Bridge girders SINE Project: structural images of the North East
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Structure Details
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Structure Name: Coldstream Bridge

Five-arch road bridge between England and Scotland, crossing the River Tweed. The visit of Robert Burns to Coldstream in 1787 is commemorated in a plaque on the bridge.

'A very fine bridge with five segmental arches each of 60 feet (18 m) span and smaller segmental land arches at each end; constructed 1763-67. Designed by John Smeaton for the Tweed Bridges Trustees, but the architectural devices - triple projecting keystones to the main arches, modillions under a plain cornice at the parapet base, and in each spandrel a blackened blind-eye decoration surrounded by a masonry ring with projecting keystones on its horizontal and vertical diameters - were borrowed by Smeaton from an earlier design by Robert Reid of Haddington who became resident engineer for the work. Smeaton used these devices on his later bridges at Perth and Banff in Scotland, and at Hexham.'
[Stafford Linsley's annotation]

Extant: Yes

Legal Status: Listed Building Grade II*

Location: Coldstream, SCOTTISH BORDERS

Eastings: 384890m (view map)

Northings: 640120m (view map)

Position Accuracy: 50m

Positional Confidence: Absolute Certainty

Street Address


Historical Background
'The bridge opened in 1767, having cost about £6,000, the difference between the actual cost and a government grant being met by local subscription and loans from Edinburgh banks. It was always intended that the costs would eventually be defrayed through levying a toll on bridge users. Robert Reid seems to have remained ‘resident engineer' for the job, and he also built the ‘marriage' toll house [at the north end of the bridge], very cheaply at the price of £27. He also built further accommodation beneath the toll house, a two storey house for himself. The trustees complained about what they saw as a misuse of their funds, but Smeaton, who believed that Reid had been underpaid throughout the work of construction, commended the idea, arguing that it gave additional support to the wing walls of the bridge.'
[Stafford Linsley's annotation]


  • 1763 - 1766   Construction of bridge.
        Entities Involved:
              Smeaton, John: Architect.
              Reid, Robert: Resident engineer.
  • 1784   Weir added downstream to reduce erosion.
  • EARLY 19TH CENTURY   Southern approach road realigned.
  • 1828   Spandrels removed and replaced.
  • 1922   Foundations reinforced with concrete.
  • 1960 - 1961   Concrete relieving arches used to strengthen the bridge. Bridge widened, and cantilevered footpaths installed.


  • Additional information about the structure type ARCH BRIDGE is available.
  • Additional information about the structure type ROAD BRIDGE is available.
  • Additional information about the structure type TOLL BRIDGE is available.


The information displayed in this page has been derived from authoritative sources, including any referenced above. Although substantial efforts were made to verify this information, the SINE project cannot guarantee its correctness or completeness.


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Last Modified 26 March 2004
2002 SINE Project, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
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