Cambuskenneth Footbridge, 1935 – The birth of a bridge and the funeral of the ferry

On Wednesday 25th October 1935 a new footbridge linking Riverside and Cambuskenneth was officially opened. The new bridge marked the end of a century of discussion concerning a proposed bridge across the River Forth.

It may not exist now, but the crossing at the River Forth was an old parliamentary boundary that linked two local authorities: Stirling Burgh and Stirling County Council. Any bridge would have to meet the demands of both parties and the cost of the bridge would have to be shared.

Formal agreements between both parties were finally met in February 1931. In a joint meeting of the Town and County Council, three proposals for a bridge were put forward:

  1. A two way bridge
  2. A one way bridge, with the potential to transfer it to a two bridge at a later date
  3. A footbridge

The third option was chosen for the following reasons outlined at the meeting:

  • The community at Cambuskenneth is not populous
  • The distance for motor traffic by Causewayhead is not great, whilst the distance from a bus terminus from the footbridge would be quite short
  • The site is unsuitable for a full traffic bridge on account unsuitable roads of access on both sides, the close proximity of the bridge in Stirling and proposed bridge in Kincardine

As discussions again stalled in 1933, the people of Cambuskenneth raised a petition asking for the bridge to be built. After lengthy talks between both parties, the bridge was finally built at a cost £6400 with the opening of the bridge dated for Wednesday 25th October 1935.

Officials and the public gathered at 3.15 pm for the opening ceremony. Blue, white and red ribbon was tied at centre of the bridge. Two representatives from each side of the river met in the middle and cut the ribbon together in a symbolic gesture. From Stirling side was Mrs McIntosh, wife of the Provost of Stirling, and from the Cambuskenneth side Mrs Harvey, wife of Captain Harvery, Convener of Stirling County Council.

After the opening ceremony, the Town Council hosted the inhabitants of Cambuskenneth for tea at the Golden Lion Hotel. A whist drive was later held in the hall at Cambuskenneth.

The opening of the bridge also marked the end of the Cambuskenneth Ferry, a centuries old tradition in the area. During his speech at the ceremony, Rev Robert McIntosh of St Columba’s Church remarked the opening of the bridge was also the ‘the funeral of the old ferry’. A ferryboat decked with pennants slowly rode across the River Forth to signal its end.