The original chain bridge was constructed in 1814 and the suspension design was a feat of engineering. The bridge, hanging from a network of handmade chains, became the most famous and unique bridge out of a total of 35 that span the River Dee between Bala and the sea.
It was constructed by Exuperious Pickering to facilitate the transfer of coal and lime from his mines between the Llangollen Canal and the main A5. It was sited where an original crossing had been constructed over the wild racing River Dee hundreds of years before, by the monks of the nearby Valle Crucis Abbey, the preserved remains of which remain a visitor attraction today.
The original chain bridge was refurbished and strengthened by Sir Henry Robertson, who owned the nearby Brymbo Steel Works in 1870. In 1928 heavy floodwaters combined with the partial damming of the river caused by fallen trees, caused the river to rise dramatically and flow over the bridge itself to the depth of four feet.
When you look at the bridge you will be able to imagine for yourself how dramatic this would have been and sadly the pressure of water proved too much causing the bridge to collapse. Undeterred, Sir Henry organised the retrieval of the original supporting chains and rebuilt the whole chain bridge to a much stronger design in 1929 where it linked Berwyn station with its antique working steam trains, directly with the hotel across the River Dee. Forty-five persons stood on the bridge during the opening ceremony to demonstrate its strength. The Chainbridge is still a famous landmark and the eponymous hotel a popular venue for locals and travellers alike.