Union Bridge, Aberdeen
Union Bridge is a bridge on Union Street, Aberdeen, Scotland. It is the largest single-span granite bridge in the world, at 130 feet (40 metres). It was built by Thomas Fletcher under some influence from Thomas Telford. It is a Category B listed building with Historic Scotland.
Constructed from 1801–05 as part of Union Street under plans suggested by Charles Abercrombie, it was intended to provide an impressive approach into the city from the south (and west); previously the route had been somewhat circuitous. The bridge crosses the Denburn valley, and Union Terrace Gardens. Alongside the gardens are a dual carriageway and single railway track; originally there was a small roadway and considerable railway workings, with the site being a short distance north of Aberdeen railway station.
The bridge was widened in 1908, in a scheme of William Diack, with Benjamin Baker as consultant, shortly before the latter's death. Steel side spans which carry today's pavements were introduced, as were "Kelly's cats", black cast metal leopards by William Kelly which sit along the balustrade.
The southern side of the bridge, including the cats, was hidden, and the view lost, when mid-20th Century shopping developments were constructed alongside it. The road and railways continue to run under the shops. Some of the lost cats may be seen at the Duthie Park winter gardens.