Dorrator (Carronvale), Falkirk


Location N 56°00’41.05”

                 W 3°49’08.9”


Span      27m (90 feet)

Width  1.2m (4 feet)

Built 1893. Replaced 2017


Evidence that this was a Harper bridge: definite


Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections


Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections

This bridge was known as the Dorrator Bridge although press reports at its opening refer to “Carronvale”. The bridge connects the communities of Larbert and Camelon and its north end leads to Carronvale Road adjacent to Carronvale House in Larbert.  The early photographs show the bridge as being near a ford over the river.  It had round cast iron towers and a nameplate transom which states ‘Louis Harper, CE, Maker, Aberdeen’.  The towers end in an early version of the Louis Harper finial and the deck cable has an arch. The main and platform cable shared the earliest form of the common anchorage.


It’s not clear who commissioned the bridge, but those responsible were apparently swayed in their choice of contractor by the fact that the towers were of cast iron.  Just a mile east of the site was the famous Carron Ironworks and it is likely that this was the source of the pig iron used by Harpers Limited. This bridge might have been the first to have the cast iron tubular masts instead of timber. Harpers Limited, with its huge lathe, was capable of milling such a product and this in turn may have influenced Louis in his choice of material.


By the turn of the century the bridge was in need of major refurbishment, not least the north abutment which was off square. Eventually, after much discussion, the bridge was replaced by a steel beam bridge in 2014 which better suited the needs of the surrounding parkland.  It was however a much loved bridge, and accordingly, the south towers were retained as a memorial to the bridge and to its designer. 


The nameplate transom from the north side has found its way to the Newquay Island Bridge, so the name of its ‘Maker’ is known.


An early form of the current anchorage

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