For several decades now, the post-medieval bridges of Perth and Kinross have attracted a degree of scholarly interest (Curtis 1979; Ruddock 1984). More than 390 bridges are listed in the Historic Environment Record for the region, with the vast majority being stone arches from the post-medieval period. In particular, the 18th-century military bridges have been the subject of a major research and conservation project led by Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust. As well as being interesting structures, bridges also provide invaluable clues as to the nature of early modern road transport, including the use and size of wheeled vehicles. The importance of bridges is widely acknowledged, although maintenance issues and road traffic incidents can sometimes lead to damage. More research into the relationship between extant post-medieval bridges and earlier crossing points such as fords and timber bridges could be beneficial.
During the early 19th century, new forms of bridge were introduced. The work of the Justice family of blacksmiths, who were based in Dundee and (briefly) in Perth, would repay study. During the 1810s, 1820s and 1830s, John Justice and his son James made innovative wrought-iron stayed and suspension bridges, for places such as Haughs of Drimmie and Crathie. Overlooked fragments of other iron bridges may exist. Meanwhile, the 20th century saw the introduction of reinforced concrete bridges. Realignment of the A9 has left behind some important 1920s reinforced concrete bridges by Sir E. Owen Williams at sites such as Dalnamein. Greater study of the region’s early concrete bridges could be of interest.
In comparison to bridges, ferries are very under-researched. Currently, the recording of post-medieval ferry sites in Perth and Kinross has been limited; they are usually only included in the Historic Environment Record where obvious structures like ferry cottages still survive. Yet ferries were fundamental to how communities were connected, are frequently mentioned in written sources and are marked on some historic maps. They also feature in a number of current place names, such as Ferryfield of Carpow. Systematic study of ferry sites in Perth and Kinross, which integrates written records with field survey, should be a priority. A carefully managed programme of metal detecting in the vicinity of ferry sites might also be productive.