The Hand Bridge (Redlees Bridge)

1920s Redlees and Caldervale

1920s Redlees and Caldervale

As you head down the Blantyre Ferme Road, you can turn left on to Calder Road which leads to Newton. About quarter of a mile from that junction, and right on the exact boundary of Blantyre Parish, is a little bridge, commonly referred to in modern times (certainly as recently as 1930s) as “Redlees Bridge” on account of it being nearby to Redlees property.

The bridge dates back to 18th Century and is made of red brick in the shape of a vaulted archway and spans the Rotten Calder river, (which leads to the Clyde). The bridge is actually the exit from Blantyre Parish and entrance to Cambuslang Parish.

The bridge is pictured here in the 1920s in two photographs one showing the beautiful scene below and another showing the roadway on top.

This bridge was originally referred to then as “The Hand Bridge” although seems to have adopted modern name of “Redlees Bridge”. I’ve been unable to determine why it was called the “Hand Bridge”, although the parapets were at hand level and at a height, suitable to rest or lean on. It

2009 Redlees widened bridge . Photo by Jim Brown

2009 Redlees widened bridge . Photo by Jim Brown

is built solidly of red brick, perhaps quarried from the nearby red stone and fired in the local area utilising nearby brick or kilnworks. It isn’t particularly wide as it only had to originally accommodate horses and carts and the odd passing vehicle.

However, in modern times, the bridge has been widened, rather cruelly and unsympathetically in grey concrete. This is best demonstrated in Jim Brown’s modern photo from 2009 attached. It’s clear to see just how much the bridge has been widened and no particular thought has been put into how this looks from underneath. At least they never knocked it down.

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