|Location Map ( geo)|
|1754, 1817, 1836, 1839|
Newmills Bridge spans the River South Esk on the southern edge of Dalkeith town centre. It carries the A6106, formerly the A68, Newmills Road to the suburb of Woodburn. Although the bridge appears to be a rather ordinary stone arch, it has a rather unordinary history of partial collapses.
Originally built in 1754 by local Thomas Brown, the bridge quickly suffered problems. The South Esk lies in a deep gully, necessitating substantial retaining walls and abutments to maintain a level roadway, and the foundations of a least one section of retaining wall were insufficient, requiring remedial work in 1770. Another section of wall on the east bank failed in 1814, and the curious response was to raise the roadway by 6 foot as part of the repair works.
Despite these problems, however, the bridge was proving its usefulness, and it was decided to widen it in 1835/6. Details of the work carried out are not clear, except that the price of £150 seems remarkably cheap. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the bridge suffered a major collapse soon after, but it was the newer part that remained standing. The bridge was rebuilt in 1838/9, at a cost of nearly £2500, showing the possible deficiencies in the much cheaper work of a couple of years earlier. The majority of what now stands, therefore, dates from the 1830s, although it is not clear how much of the 1835/6 work was retained.