Faery Bridge, Dunblane

When I was a child my Granny used to take me to the Dunblane war memorial by the Allan Water which we crossed by the Faery Bridge. This reinforced concrete arch footbridge was built in 1911. It was designed and built by Armand Considère an early pioneer of reinforced concrete design.

It has been said that the name “Faery Bridge” is a corruption of “Ferro-bridge”, from its use of ferro-concrete.

I have always considered this pedestrian but pioneering bridge to be both graceful and beautiful.

My Granny, Constance Gibson [1908-1998] was born and spent her childhood in Balhaddie house, Dunblane. It is but a few minutes walk from there to Faery Bridge.

My Granny’s father, Major Wilfrid Lawson Gibson [1874-1932] was the Road Surveyor for West  Perthshire. He would have known of  Considère’s pioneering bridges.

Photograph above: Major Wilfrid L Gibson on his horse.

Major Gibson served in WWI and I have all the letters that he sent from the battlefields to his children:

Major Gibson’s Surveyor’s Office was in Dunblane, opposite the Post Office. His office bookcase now sits on our stair landing:

A few years ago my mother gave me a wooden letter-opener that belonged to Major Gibson [her grandfather]:

Yesterday, with my daughter Rachel and ‘Big Ted’, I revisited Faery Bridge.

When home I made this short film:

Work suspended:

To play this short film please click here or on the image above.

Music credit: a choir singing recently on Radio Scotland.

Borrowed words: Peter Davidson, Muriel Spark, George Saunders, Umberto Eco and Evelyn Waugh.

This film is for all those who have died in the war. This is no fairy story.