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12 November 2020

Kingston Bridge awarded Category C listing status

Glasgow’s Kingston Bridge has been recognised with listing status at Category C for its special architectural and historic interest.

General view of Kingston Bridge

The decision to list the ten-lane road bridge which spans the River Clyde follows nomination for listing by Transport Scotland to mark the bridge’s 50th anniversary in June, and a consultation where the public were asked for their views on the proposal.

Through listing, the bridge has been recognised as a significant – albeit controversial – infrastructure project which transformed the city of Glasgow. Forming part of the M8, Scotland’s first motorway, its construction reflected the social and economic changes taking place in Scotland’s cities in the mid 20th century, as private car ownership rapidly rose.

The bridge also has special architectural interest, as an early example of a cantilevered concrete box girder bridge by one of the leading civil engineering firms of its period.

Today, the Kingston Bridge is the most used road bridge in Scotland and amongst the busiest in Europe, being used daily by between 150,000 and 160,000 vehicles.

Originally considered for listing at Category B, the Bridge has been listed at category C after consideration of the consultation responses about the bridge’s special historic and architectural interest. Category C listed buildings are those of special architectural or historic interest which are representative examples of a period, style or building type.

Elizabeth McCrone, Head of Designations at HES, said:

“We’re grateful for the time people took to share their views with us about the Kingston Bridge.

“What became clear through the consultation is that people feel very strongly about the decision to list the Kingston Bridge, and a number of issues were raised ranging from concerns that this would mean the bridge must always remain a motorway and the climate change impacts of this, to worries that recognising the bridge in this way was insensitive to the effect its construction had on the communities directly affected.

Listing is a way of recognising buildings and structures that create Scotland’s distinctive character, and through which we can discover more about the stories of our past.

“In listing the Kingston Bridge, we have responded to the consultation to show both the positive and negative aspects of its history– including how a large part of Anderston Cross was demolished and transformed as part of the city’s ambitious and innovative redevelopment of the area, which included the building of the bridge.

“Listing doesn’t mean that a structure has to stay the same forever or remain in its original use. Rather, it means that there is a special interest that should be taken into account in the planning process.

“We’re continuing to receive more requests to list our modern buildings, and we remain committed to working with the people of Scotland to ensure that our listing process is engaging, transparent, and reflects all aspects of our country’s heritage.”

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, said:

The Kingston Bridge has become an iconic landmark in Glasgow, so I’m pleased to see its 50 years of operation being recognised in this way.

"The crossing played its part in taking a significant amount of traffic off the city centre streets and paved the way for the pedestrianisation of Sauchiehall Street, Buchanan Street and Argyle Street. It has also courted some controversy over the past half century, but there is no doubt it continues to play a vital role today.

“The work that’s been carried out to ensure it continues to do this job in the future has won civil engineering awards, so having the Kingston Bridge formally listed is a fitting way to mark its impact over the past 50 years.”

To view the full Designation report, visit the HES portal.

Find out more about the role of HES in listing Scotland’s buildings

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

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