Statement of Special Interest
One of the five principal aqueduct bridges built as part of the first phase of the Glasgow Corporation Water Works system (see below for significance of the scheme as a whole) from 1856 onwards. The conduit is predominantly subterranean, but the geography at the top end of the scheme necessitated a number of aqueduct bridges. At the time of building the surrounding area was uninhabited, there were no roads and the local stone was unsuitable for building. The engineer, John Bateman, described these aqueduct bridges as 'somewhat peculiar', and their design results from the lack of available building stone. The iron construction was much more expensive and technologically difficult than building an arched masonry aqueduct.
Because of the lack of lime for mortar, the masonry parts were originally drystone. In the early 1860s it was felt that this made them too potentially unstable and they were consequently given mortar joints. The height of the iron trough was also raised by about 2½ feet at about the same time to increase capacity.
The Glasgow Corporation Water Works system, which brings water down to Glasgow from Loch Katrine, was admired internationally as an engineering marvel when it was opened in 1860. It was one of the most ambitious civil engineering schemes to have been undertaken in Europe since Antiquity, employing the most advanced surveying and construction techniques available. The scheme represents the golden age of municipal activity in Scotland and not only provided Glasgow with fresh drinking water, thereby paving the way for a significant increase in hygiene and living standards, but also a source of hydraulic power that was indispensable to the growth of Glasgow's industry as a cheap and clean means of lifting and moving heavy plant in docks, shipyards and warehouses. The civic pride in this achievement is visible in every structure connected with the scheme, from the neatly-detailed gates and railings along its route, to the massive masonry structures and iron troughs that carry the conduit and, in most cases, have withstood without failure or noticeable deterioration the daily pressure of many millions of gallons of water for well over 100 years.
Glasgow's Lord Provost, Robert Stewart (1810-66) was the driving force behind the implementation of a municipally-owned water scheme to provide clean water to Glasgow's rapidly increasing population. Loch Katrine was identified as a suitable supply and after some objections from various parties, an Act of Parliament authorising the scheme was passed in 1855. The scheme was built in two main phases following this Act and another 1885. The 1855 scheme, which was opened by Queen Victoria in 1859 and was fully operational by 1860, had been designed to allow for significant expansion as demand increased, and this work was carried in the 20 years following the opening. The 1885 Act allowed a second aqueduct to be built, which followed a slightly shorter course than the earlier scheme. The capacity of the second aqueduct was also expanded during the first half of the 20th century.
John Frederick Bateman (1810-1889) was chosen as the engineer for the scheme and construction work commenced in 1856. Bateman was to become one of the world's most eminent water engineers, and worked on a number of other water supply schemes in Britain, Europe and Asia. He was assisted by James Morrison Gale (1830-1905), who on the completion of the initial scheme in 1859 was appointed Water Engineer for the City of Glasgow, a post he held till 1902. Gale was responsible for over-seeing the incremental expansion of the first scheme during the 1860s and '70s and the building of the second aqueduct from 1885 onwards.
Listed following the thematic review of Loch Katrine water supply system in 2008.