Welcome to Friends of Wade’s Bridge. This group is being established through Aberfeldy Development Trust to support a detailed conservation management plan of this historic bridge and engage the community in its conservation in advance of the tercentenary in 2033.
About the Wade’s Bridge
Designed by William Adam, architect father of Robert Adam, this 5 arched, single track structure with its decorative obelisks, marble tablets and faux cannon was built in 1733. It’s difficult to believe that, at this time, this was the only bridge spanning the Tay, Robert Mylne’s bridge in Perth having been washed away almost a century earlier until replaced by Smeaton’s new bridge in 1766.
The Tay Bridge, as it was called, was integral to the plan which General George Wade (1673 – 1748) had for the opening up of the Highlands after the Old Pretender’s ’15 rebellion with the aim of establishing a military road plan to North and West where none existed north of Stirling. By the time the standard was raised for the ’45, Johnny Cope and his troops were able to cross the bridge in his expedition against Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Young Pretender.
For almost 300 years, this bridge, built by skilled craftsmen and engineers, but without the aid of modern technology, materials and building practice, has more than earned its place as a Class ‘A’ Listed Structure, an ancient monument of national significance and local affection.
Built of chlorite schist stone quarried locally from nearby Bolfracks on iron shod oak piles, also locally supplied, Wade considered this wonderful bridge his masterpiece.
Traffic, which would originally have been pedestrian or horse on a cobbled surface, now carries, daily, lorries, heavy machine transport, school buses, delivery vans, cars, bicycles, and pushchairs over the Tay on a tarmacadamed surface which has risen incrementally over the years. When first completed, one criticism was that one couldn’t see over the Bridge’s parapet…..
You can find out more about the history of the Bridge at Breadalbane Heritage Society
A report on the current condition of the bridge is now available to view:
The advice from the report is that a fully funded conservation management plan is needed to ensure the longevity of the Bridge. With its tercentenary in 2033, there is no time like the present to protect this historic bridge, which has continued to act as vital local infrastructure since it was built in 1733.
Perth and Kinross Council understands the need for a conservation plan but given the demands placed on their resources it may be difficult to secure the considerable sum required in time to begin the process of restoring the bridge for its tercentenary. The planned Friends group will be able to access funds unavailable to the Council and involve itself with the programme of restoration.
Friends of Wade’s Bridge
Thank you to everyone who attended our first meeting back in September. We are in the initial stages of organising the group and would welcome anyone who would like to get involved – any time, skills or interest you can offer would be appreciated. Details of our next meeting will be posted here soon!
If you are interested in getting involved, please email email@example.com