Free exhibition to mark Forth bridge construction


ONE of the world’s greatest feats of engineering is being celebrated at the National Library of Scotland.


A free exhibition will start today and run until June 21st, to mark the construction of the Forth rail bridge.



When it opened 125 years ago, the Forth bridge had the longest cantilever bridge span in the world and was the first major construction in Britain to be built of steel.


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The Forth Bridge was an extraordinary feat of engineering


It rises 110 metres (361ft) above the water and has foundations that are sunk 27 metres (89ft) into the river bed.


It is made up of some 53,000 tonnes of steel, including 6.5 million rivets.


Items in the exhibition range from detailed plans and photographs of the construction to an original copy of the menu that was served to guests at the royal opening.


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Exhibits at the new display show visitors the scale and importance of the grand opening.


Alison Metcalfe, manuscripts curator at the National Library of Scotland said: “The Forth Bridge has become a prominent Scottish landmark,  but perhaps we have lost sight of just how much of an engineering marvel it was 125 years ago and remains to this day.


“We hope this display will show some of the ingenuity involved in its construction and help to remember the sacrifice of so many who lost their lives when it was being built.”


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Other items on display include detailed plans



Work on the bridge was often a dangerous enterprise with men dangling on ropes to work on the structure.


Boats patrolled underneath the site to rescue anyone who fell but this did not prevent fatalities. At least 57 deaths are recorded although this is thought to underestimate the true number.


The Forth Bridge: Building an Icon is on from April 1 to June 21 at the National Library of Scotland, George 1V Bridge, Edinburgh. Entry is free.