St Devenick's Bridge

(The Shakkin' Briggie, Morison's Bridge)

A derelict suspension foot-bridge which crosses the River Dee between Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Council Area, St. Devenick's Bridge once linked Inchgarth Road in Cults with the low-lying Haugh of Ardoe. It is also known as Morison's Bridge, after the Rev. George Morison (1758 - 1845) who paid for it to allow his parishioners to cross the river to attend church. Opened in 1837, the bridge was originally 96m (305 feet) in length, with a central span of 56.4m (185 feet) suspended between pairs of cast-iron towers, taking the form of Neo-Classical Doric columns, which are built on masonry piers. It cost of £1400 and was designed by Aberdeen's City Architect John Smith (1781 - 1852), who had worked with the noted builder of suspension bridges Captain Samuel Brown (1776 - 1852) to build the Wellington Bridge in Aberdeen six years previously. Smith used Brown's designs for wrought-iron bar link chains and iron-rod suspenders to carry a timber deck. However, the lack of any significant stiffening of this deck led to movement which gave the bridge its popular name, the Shakkin' Briggie.

The bridge was damaged by floods in 1876, 1914 and 1920, but repaired. However, the southern approach was washed away when the Dee changed its course in the 1950s and it was abandoned. Following Morison's death, the bridge had been maintained by the Banchory-Devenick Kirk Session but, more recently, responsibility for the bridge became unclear, giving rise to the newspaper headline 'The Bridge That Nobody Owns' in 1958, after it was damaged. It was subsequently taken on by Aberdeen City Council. The deck is now gone and the south tower is marooned in the centre of the river. Despite its derelict state, the bridge is A-listed owing to its architectural and historical importance as one of Scotland's earliest suspension bridges.

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