here for Musselburgh)
cross the River Esk, but in Musselburgh alone, there are seven bridges
connecting the town with Fisherrow on the opposite bank. There were
three large mills and several smaller mills, tanneries and other industries
powered by the river. The weir which provided the head of water to
power these mills is known locally as The Falls. The Musselburgh Paper
Mill operated from the 1870s until its closure in 1971. Further downstream
was the Net Mill where in 1820 James Paterson invented the mechanical
net loom to replace the manual process. Bruntons internationally famous
Wiremill, founded in 1876, also occupied a huge site by the river.
They rigged the first airships and many suspension bridges were cabled
by Bruntons including the Forth Road Bridge. The iron footbridge was
built in 1923 to carry workers across the river to these mills. The
former railway viaduct, built in 1877 was replaced some years ago
by a road bridge.
is the Old Bridge, known as the Roman Bridge though the foundations
were built over with a two arch structure in mediaeval times, the
third arch being added in 1597. In 1296, the Old Bridge carried the
Scottish army marching to the Battle of Dunbar and in 1314, the English
army crossed it following its defeat at Bannockburn. While crossing
the bridge after the Battle of Pinkie in 1547, several of the Scottish
army were killed by shot from the English ships lying off the mouth
of the Esk. The sea has receded considerably since then!! Charles
Edward Stuart led his Highland army across the bridge to the Battle
of Prestonpans in 1745, and again in triumphant return to Edinburgh.
Bridge at Musselburgh
- New Bridge
|Until the old
railway bridge was opened as a road bridge, the New Bridge, designed
by John Rennie in 1806 and widened in 1925, carried the A1 through
the town. Beside it on one side, is the Delta Memorial to the poet,
author and physician, David Macbeth Moir (1798-1851) and opposite,
the Fountain gifted to the town in the 1890s and restored as a Second
World War Memorial in 1999. Opposite, the High Kirk, built in 1843,
is now the Musselburgh Museum of Dolls and Art Exhibits. Since 1987,
the A1(T) has bypassed Musselburgh.
called the 'Store' Bridge, connecting Shorthope Street and North High
Street where the former Cooperative buildings were sited, is beside
the old fording place. There are usually nesting swans on the small
islands in the river but the Esk Estuary is host to numerous swans
during the moulting season. The Electric Bridge was built in the 1960s
to carry the huge turbines being installed at Cockenzie Power Station
but when it was no longer needed, Musselburgh Town Council declined
the offer of the Electricity Board to make it available for all to
use and it is now only occasionally open to traffic. The last bridge
to cross the river is a footbridge. A series of 'lagoons' were constructed
on the links at Musselburgh for the disposal of waste ash from Cockenzie.
Managed as a Bird Reserve, birdwatchers can see an amazing variety
of birds at any time of the year.
bridges from the air
is thought to have had a harbour on the opposite side of the river
since Roman times, the boats fishing for white fish and herring.
The Fisherrow fishwives in their distinctive blue and white striped
dresses were a familiar sight in the streets of Edinburgh carrying
their wicker creels.