Leith's historic Victoria Swing Bridge officially opened after six-figure refurbishment

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A colourful community parade has marked the official opening of Leith’s historic Victoria Swing Bridge after a major refurbishment project.

The work on the 150-year-old bridge included repairs to the two pedestrian walkways and the central carriageway, which included replacing the existing timber decking, steel work repairs and a full repair and repaint of its familiar blue metalwork.

Daniel Ndlovu,13, from Citadel Youth Centre  cuts the ribbon to reopen the bridge - local MSP Ben Macpherson and Forth Ports chief executive Stuart Wallace lead the cheers.
Photos: Jamie Simpson/Forth Ports
Daniel Ndlovu,13, from Citadel Youth Centre  cuts the ribbon to reopen the bridge - local MSP Ben Macpherson and Forth Ports chief executive Stuart Wallace lead the cheers.
Photos: Jamie Simpson/Forth Ports
Daniel Ndlovu,13, from Citadel Youth Centre cuts the ribbon to reopen the bridge - local MSP Ben Macpherson and Forth Ports chief executive Stuart Wallace lead the cheers. Photos: Jamie Simpson/Forth Ports | Jamie Simpson

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The Category A-listed structure was opened in 1874 to provide an efficient road and railway route for the port following the completion of construction of Albert Dock in 1869. It was closed to vehicular traffic in the mid-1990s.

Forth Ports, who were responsible for the six-figure investment to refurbish the bridge, said its reopening, coupled with the refurbishments and reopening of the Rennie’s Isle Bridge last year by Teuchters Landing, ensured that the people of Leith had better access around the local shore area.

People from the Citadel Youth Centre, members of the Leith community and Edinburgh North & Leith MSP Ben Macpherson all took part in the bridge walk at the weekend, which featured colourful flags encapsulating the rich history, exciting present and ambitious future of Leith.

The procession included three new six-metre Leith Flags which were commissioned by The Port of Leith and created in collaboration with Kinetika and the local community.

Forth Ports CEO Stuart Wallace (left), local MSP Ben Macpherson and piper Louise Marshall with flags created by the community for the opening of the Victoria swing bridge in Leith.  Picture: Jamie Simpson/Forth Ports.Forth Ports CEO Stuart Wallace (left), local MSP Ben Macpherson and piper Louise Marshall with flags created by the community for the opening of the Victoria swing bridge in Leith.  Picture: Jamie Simpson/Forth Ports.
Forth Ports CEO Stuart Wallace (left), local MSP Ben Macpherson and piper Louise Marshall with flags created by the community for the opening of the Victoria swing bridge in Leith. Picture: Jamie Simpson/Forth Ports. | Jamie Simpson

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The reopening of the bridge coincided with a weekend of events as part of the Leith Jazz and Blues Festival and included vintage bus tours around the Port of Leith.

Stuart Wallace, chief executive designate at Forth Ports, said: “It is fantastic to be at the reopening of the Victoria Swing Bridge which is an important landmark for the community in Leith. The bridge work is just one part of the exciting ongoing regeneration activity in Leith of which we are proud to be part of. The glorious Leith flags brought colour and creativity to the reopening bridge procession and we are excited to show these flags off to the community.

 “We are grateful to everyone who collaborated in the creation of the flags and I hope the local community enjoyed the vintage bus tours of the port. I know our team had a great time leading the tours and showing the dramatic, innovative redevelopment taking place as we build Scotland’s largest offshore renewables hub.”

Further work will continue next year on the Victoria Swing Bridge with the refurbishment of the timber decked turning circles. This work will not impact on access for people crossing the bridge.

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