Friday, December 30, 2011

Lauder Bridge

This is an interesting footbridge found in Dean Road, built for pedestrians who found crossing the ford dangerous owing to frequent flooding and fast-flowing waters of the river known as the Kilmarnock Water.
It was constructed in 1905 in cast-iron, the brainchild of David Lauder, the owner of “Lauder’s Emporium” in King Street. Unfortunately, the bridge built actually collapsed during its opening ceremony!!
After the ribbon was cut and the civic dignitaries crossed the new bridge for the first time, large numbers of the public crowded on from each side until the metal suspension ropes snapped. The bridge, and all the people, fell into the river! A few were injured but fortunately none was killed.
After this catastrophe, the bridge was strengthened underneath by stone and concrete with metal struts to support the walkway and has stood here ever since.
I think it’s sad that there are now plans to demolish this (still perfectly serviceable) old bridge and to build a new walkway alongside the proposed road traffic bridge. It would surely be better to renovate this historical and rather dilapidated structure.

View from Lauder Bridge of the flooded road, soon to be a thing of the past after the new road bridge is built in 2012...

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