Victoria Swing Bridge
Coordinates55°58′43″N 3°10′12″W / 55.9787251°N 3.1699057°W / 55.9787251; -3.1699057Coordinates: 55°58′43″N 3°10′12″W / 55.9787251°N 3.1699057°W / 55.9787251; -3.1699057
CrossesWater of Leith
MaterialWrought iron
Total length212 feet (65 m)
Width24 feet (7.3 m)
Longest span120 feet (37 m)
Engineering design byRendel and Robertson
Construction start1871
Construction end1874
Construction costGB£30,000

The Victoria Swing Bridge is a swing bridge in Leith, Edinburgh.


Engraving of the bridge carrying a train from around 1879
Engraving of the bridge carrying a train from around 1879

The dock upstream from the bridge was begun in 1833, but financial troubles meant it was only finished between 1869 and 1875, and is nearly rectangular with a quayage of 3,860 feet (1,180 m) and an area of 10.7 acres (4.3 ha).[1] The bridge was built between 1871 and 1874 to service the new docks.[2] It was engineered by Rendel and Robertson, with J. H. Bostock as resident engineer.[2] McDonald & Grant were contractors for the foundations, and the bridge was built by the Skerne Iron Works.[2] The works cost around GB£30,000.[2]

Until the completion of the Kincardine Bridge, also in Scotland, in 1936, it is thought to have been the longest clear swing bridge span in Britain[2] (The Swing Bridge, River Tyne, completed two years after the Victoria Bridge, has a longer deck span).

After restoration, it was reopened on 22 November 2000 by Eric Milligan, Lord Provost of Edinburgh.[3]


The footpath on the north side of the bridge
The footpath on the north side of the bridge

It was 212 feet (65 m) long in total, with a clear span of 120 feet (37 m), and a roadway width of 24 feet (7.3 m).[2] The bridge was constructed from wrought iron, and weighed 620 tonnes (610 long tons; 680 short tons), including 60 tonnes (59 long tons; 66 short tons) of timber decking and 240 tonnes (240 long tons; 260 short tons) of kentledge counterweight.[2] The bridge carried two tracks of a dock railway and a road, and there are footpaths on either side outside the truss structure.[2][4] The tracks and roadway have now been removed, and the bridge has a wooden deck.[4]

The bridge was powered hydraulically by a power station just to the north.[5][6] It swung to the north, and the space afforded for the counterbalance can still be seen.[6]

It has been succeeded by a new bridge further downstream, which carries a roadway known as Ocean Drive.[7][6]


  1. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Victoria Dock with Pedestrian and Vehicular Swing Bridges (Category A Listed Building) (LB24971)". Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Edinburgh, Leith Docks, Victoria Swing Bridge". Canmore. Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  3. ^ Victoria Bridge (Plaque on bridge).
  4. ^ a b "Victoria Swing Bridge". Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Edinburgh, Leith Docks, Alexandra Dry Dock, Hydraulic Power Station". Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Google (23 September 2014). "Victoria Swing Bridge" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Edinburgh, Leith Docks, Victoria Bridge". Retrieved 23 September 2014.