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Boat O' Brig Road Bridge

Boat O' Brig Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 14, 2018

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
B9103 Over River Spey
Fochabers: Moray, Scotland: United Kingdom
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1956 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge is a representative example of a mid 20th century truss bridge in the UK, and is located at the site of a historic suspension bridge. The tollhouse of the former bridge survives at the east end of the bridge, and is a listed building.

Official Heritage Listing Information and Findings (For Boat of Brig Tollhouse)

Listed At: Category A


Historic Environment Scotland Number: LB2324

Canmore ID: 16913


William Robertson, 1830. N facing single storey, 5-bay classical tollhouse; harled, ashlar margins and dressings. Pedimented baseless Roman Doric tetrastyle portico; deep string-coursed entablature. Narrow windows flank doorway, slightly wider windows in outer bays; further single window in E gable (facing road); 4- and 12-pane glazing. 3 centre short corniced stacks; shallow piended slate roof. Small later rear lean-to addition. INTERIOR: simple 2-roomed interior.

Statement of Special Interest

There was a medieval bridge at Boat of Brig built by Muriel de Polloc, the tolls supporting the hospital of St Nicholas site nearby. Bridge re-placed by ferry-boat. Suspension bridge designed and executed by Captain Samuel Brown RN, opened 3 December, 1830; together with the tollhouse, it was financed by Col Grant of Grant (Seafield Estates), Mr Richard Wharton Duff of Orton and Mr P Steuart of Auchlunkart. 'Remarkably handsome' tollhouse where 'very moderate pontage' was collected. Tollhouse of unusually grandoise design. Suspension bridge superseded by present bridge in 1952. Upgraded: B to A, 24.3.88.

Information From Moray SMR:

Tollhouse at Boat O'Brig, built in 1830 by William Robertson and of an unusually grandiose design. It is a N-facing single storey, 5-bay classical tollhouse, constructing with harled, ashlar margins and dressing. There is a pedimented baseless Roman Doric tetrastyle portico with a deep string-coursed entablature. Narrow windows flank the doorway, and there are slightly wider windows in the outer bays. A further single window is in the E gable that faces the road. 4- and 12-pane glazing is used. There are 3 centre short corniced stacks and a shallow piended slate roof. There is a small later rear lean-to addition. Inside, there is a simple 2 roomed interior. There was a medieval bridge at Boat of Brig built by Muriel de Polloc, and the tolls supported the hospital of St Nicholas site nearby (NJ35SW0001). The bridge was later re-placed by a ferry-boat. A suspension bridge was designed and executed by Captain Samuel Brown RN, and opened on 3rd December, 1830, together with the tollhouse. It was financed by Col Grant of Grant (Seafield Estates), Mr Richard Wharton Duff of Orton and Mr P Steuart of Auchlunkart. It is a 'Remarkably handsome' tollhouse where 'very moderate pontage' was collected.

Information About Previous Bridge From Moray SMR:

Samuel Brown, engineer 1831-32; Mackenzie & Matthews, architectural practice 1845. The partnership of Matthews & Mackenzie had its origin in that of Mackenzie & Matthews. Just before Thomas Mackenzie's death in October 1854 an Inverness office was established with William Lawrie in charge as resident assistant. For ten years both the Aberdeen and the Inverness practices continued under James Matthews' sole name, Lawrie finally becoming a partner in 1864. The practice title of Matthews & Lawrie tended to be used in the Inverness area only, work in and around Aberdeen being usually undertaken in Matthews' name only. By 1877 Alexander Marshall Mackenzie (born 1848), son of Thomas Mackenzie and a pupil in Matthews' Aberdeen office from 1863 to 1868, had amply demonstrated his capacity to gain clients through his own independent practice, which he had commenced in Elgin at the early age of twenty-two. Matthews re-admitted him as a partner, but in respect of Aberdeen and Elgin-based business only, Matthews's other partner William Lawrie retaining his semi-independent position in Inverness where the practice continued under the name of Matthews & Lawrie. From 1883 onward Mackenzie undertook virtually all of the design work of the Aberdeen office, Matthews being preoccupied with civic duties as provost, principally on Rosemount Viaduct and the Union Terrace improvements. The Inverness practice was taken over by John Hinton Gall in his own name only after Lawrie's death in 1887 and Matthews eventually retired completely in 1893 at the age of seventy-three, leaving Mackenzie as sole partner. James Matthews was born in December 1819, son of Peter Matthews, a teller in the Commercial Bank in Aberdeen and a Burgess of Guild, and was christened on 12 or 13 December that year. His mother was Margaret Ross, daughter of William Ross, the architect-builder who had built Union Bridge. Educated at Robert Gordon's Hospital, he was articled to Archibald Simpson in 1834, and worked under the supervision of Simpson's assistant Thomas Mackenzie (born 1814). In 1839 he went to George Gilbert Scott's in London. On his return early in 1844, Simpson offered him the post of chief assistant with the promise of partnership in two years. He declined as he thought Simpson would be 'too greedy' (the Mackenzies, however, found Matthews 'a bit of a Jew'). Matthews then formed his partnership with Thomas Mackenzie, initially with Mackenzie doing most of the designing in Elgin, and Matthews attending to the management of the Aberdeen office. In that year they won the competition for the Free Church College (New College) in Edinburgh, in a competition assessed by Sir Charles Barry. The perspective, formerly at Bourtie, is now in the possession of Professor Alistair Rowan. The competition was set aside, however, and the commission given to William Henry Playfair. Initially the Elgin practice was much more prosperous than the Aberdeen one and in 1848 Matthews applied unsuccessfully for the post of head of the Edinburgh office of the Office of Works. Mackenzie died of brain fever - apparently brought on by an accident - on 15 October 1854, Matthews continuing the practice thereafter under his name alone, though he did form a brief partnership with George Petrie of Elgin in c.1857. Petrie presumably filled the role of Mackenzie manning the Elgin end of the practice. Just before Mackenzie's death an Inverness office had been established with William Lawrie in charge as resident assistant. Although not made a partner until 1864, Lawrie was given what seems to have been a free hand in the design work and for some years the Inverness office was the more prosperous. Matthews continued the Aberdeen office alone, and it was not until 1877 that Mackenzie's son, Alexander Marshall Mackenzie, was taken into partnership, having established a successful practice of his own in his native Elgin. Thereafter Matthews ran the practice as two separate partnerships - Matthews & Mackenzie in Aberdeen and Elgin, and Matthews & Lawrie in Inverness. When Lawrie died in 1887, the Inverness practice was inherited by John Hinton Gall (born 1848), who had been his chief assistant since 1872 and who continued the business under his own name, Matthews withdrawing completely from that branch of the firm. Matthews entered the Town Council in 1863, and retired as a councillor in 1871. In November 1883 he was recalled as Lord Provost and held office until November 1886. He was mainly responsible for implementing the City Improvement Act of 1883 which included building Schoolhill and Rosemount Viaduct and giving improved access to the latter area of the city. He was a director of the North of Scotland Bank, of which he was Chairman from time to time. His public services (in particular the Mitchell Tower and Graduation Hall) brought an Honorary LLD from the University of Aberdeen. In his later years Matthews lived in some grandeur at Springhill, which he had greatly altered for himself. Matthews retired from the practice in 1893 at the age of seventy-three, and died at 15 Albyn Terrace on 28 June 1898. He was buried in St Nicholas churchyard, where his monument records the earlier deaths of his daughter Margaret Rose Matthews on 18 May 1868, his son James Duncan Matthews on 21 November 1890 and his wife Elizabeth Duncan on 21 March 1895.


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