I was looking recently at an old plate photo by Andrew Guthrie dating from around 1870. However, this picture of the bridge gives me a REAL headache and keeps bringing me back to a subject I’m been previously too shy to propose in public. You’ll think i’m crazy as its often been written that Bothwell Bridge was an old 14th Century Bridge, but I think he was photographing that bridge as it was relatively new! It’s SO new looking, the stonework, the piers, however I’ve never read EVER about the bridge being reconstructed. So decided to investigate…..
Why has nobody apparently written about this before? Further evidence of a new bridge, above it, on the parapet, is a sharp, noticeable change in angle. Something IS going on at that point in the bridge, and I would just LOVE now to propose the current Bothwell Bridge it is actually a new 19th Century bridge, built to replace the old one which now only exists on the far western embankment.
It wasn’t built for Queen Victoria though she did visit it in 1842 with Albert. Now I turned to newspaper archives and noticed Thomas Telford wrote up his life story in the early 1823, observing then in that book “The Life of Thomas Telford” that Bothwell bridge, was an old bridge, long and very narrow and did not serve purpose well. In 1799, Journals of the House of Commons Vol 54 talks about “road improvements near the old Bothwell Bridge”
1. Earlier crossing relating to Douglases/Hamiltons and Bothwell strategic crossing.
2. Medieval Bridge c. 1490.
3. Early Modern Bridge c. 1600s.
4. 1600s bridge.
5. 1826 improvements.
6. 1871 improvements.
The dates of these improvements will be abundantly recorded in public records relating to County of Lanark which are held at Glasgow City Archives. These are the go-to during archaeological proposals relating to previous investigation. The road records include the Turnpike records and bridge improvement records, and are all held in the same repository. The minutes are preserved which likely refer in some detail to the subject to.