Union Chain Bridge World Records


Author:Chris Baglee

Following official recognition by Guinness World Records in June 2020, that the Union Chain Bridge is the World’s oldest suspension bridge still carrying vehicular traffic, Christopher Baglee, Conservation Architect for the Bridge, has produced this schedule of the other internationally significant records and facts that it currently holds or will hold* plus previous records held and lost.

World Records

  1. July 1820, the World’s longest clear span deck until January 1826 when Telford’s Menai Suspension Bridge opened.
  2. July 1820, the World’s first bridge to use the new eye-bar chain system of suspension, invented and patented by its designer, Captain Samuel Brown, RN in 1817.
  3. June 2020, the World’s oldest suspension bridge still carrying vehicular traffic. (Guinness World Records)
  4. June 2020, the Scottish Pylon is the World’s oldest masonry road suspension bridge pylon.
  5. December 2021*, it will become the World’s oldest road suspension bridge with the deck totally supported by its original iron chains, once the 1903 wire suspension system has been removed. (This UK record is currently held by Whorlton Bridge, River Tees, 1830, designed by John Green, although the suspension chain design patent was held by Captain Samuel Brown, with ironwork supplied under licence from Brown, Lennox & Co., by Walker & Yates of Gospel Oak.)

European Records

July 1820, Europe’s first iron suspension bridge to carry vehicular traffic.

* Subject to confirmation after completion

This article was originally produced for the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge Newsletter and has been reproduced with the kind permission of Chris Baglee.