THEY are unique remnants of Scotland’s industrial past.

But now two Category A listed swing bridges in Leith have been placed on a list of historic structures under threat.

The Victoria Swing Bridge, a local landmark constructed between 1871 and 1874, remains the largest counterweighted swing bridge in Scotland

Meanwhile, a nearby cast-iron bridge off Dock Place, outside the popular Teuchters Landing pub, stands as one of the earliest surviving examples of its kind in the UK.

However both have been neglected and left to deteriorate in recent years, sparking local anger. 

Forth Ports, which owns the Port of Leith estate, insisted steps are being taken to protect them.

A spokeswoman said: “A detailed survey and inspection of both bridges has been carried out which outlines the longer-term refurbishment options for these bridges.

“In moving this forward, due to the listed nature of the two bridges, these options will be discussed with the planning team at the City of Edinburgh Council and Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

“As soon as we have an agreed plan in place, we will keep the local community updated.”

Ian Anderson, of campaign group SOS Leith, said it had been lobbying for the bridges to be placed on HES’s Buildings at Risk Register, a comprehensive database of architecturally or historically important structures considered under threat, since 2018. 

He said the Victoria Swing Bridge is “iconic”, while the other is “an engineering treasure”. 

He added: “They are part of our history. It’s very important to us.”

The Victoria Swing Bridge is considered an “important and rare example” of its kind.

The HES website notes: “Swing bridges present tangible evidence of the rapidly expanding industrial landscape of mid to late 19th century Scotland, a period when maritime, canal and dockland commercial enterprises were at their height.

 “Swing bridges are a rare building type in Scotland.”

Hydraulically operated, it swung to the north and originally provided a rail connection across the inner harbour before later carrying vehicles.

It was refurbished in 2000 but is now in a visibly poor condition, with gaps, patches and plant growth.

The bridge was moved to the Buildings at Risk Register earlier this year, with HES stating: “The longer it remains unused the worse it will become.”

A second swing bridge, which connects Dock Place and Rennie’s Isle, has also been moved to the list of structures under threat.

It is considered an “exceptionally rare” remnant of early dock developments in Leith, at the time the most advanced port in Scotland, and was operated manually by hand winches and capstans to either side.

However it is now entirely fenced off due to its dilapidated condition.

Dating back to the early 19th century, it was built to a design by Ralph Walker and the renowned civil engineer John Rennie, who designed many bridges, canals and docks and was involved in the construction of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

He was also the brains behind the “New” London Bridge, which opened in 1831 but was famously sold to an American entrepreneur in 1968 and rebuilt in Arizona. 

Campaigners have called on Forth Ports to better protect the two Leith bridges and invest in their upkeep.

Both have Category A listed status, meaning they are considered “outstanding examples of a particular period, style or building type”.

Mr Anderson said: “Within Forth Ports’ budget, I would have thought that they could have found the money for these two fairly modest bridges.”

He added: “We find that a bit disappointing, to say the least.”

He said the Dock Place bridge was a pedestrian throughway before it was closed to the public.

Steve Cardownie, a former councillor and deputy Lord Provost of Edinburgh, said the condition of the bridges is a “real shame”.

He said: “This is something that is intrinsic to the history of Leith and Leith Docks.”

Approached by The Herald, HES said it has had “no formal application from Forth Ports as yet” regarding refurbishment works.