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Happy 125th Birthday Forth Bridge

05 March 2015

What’s GTA, Hitchcock and Irn-Bru all got in common? Strangely it’s the Forth Bridge, which yesterday celebrated its 125th birthday. bto’s Paul Motion was one of the lucky 250 to receive tickets to attend the Prince's Scottish Business Youth Trust event to climb to the top of the Forth Bridge.

A beautiful sunny March day, perfect for Paul to capture some great views from this iconic and much loved Scottish structure. Formally opened on the 4 March 1890 by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), the 125th anniversary was marked in style with a fly-past by a Spitfire and an RAF Typhoon.

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In its time the bridge design trailblazed by being the first British bridge to adopt the cantilever method and the first major British construction to be built almost entirely from steel, while at 1.5 miles long, the Forth Bridge was the longest bridge of its kind in the world.

The original design job went to engineer Thomas Bouch in the 1870’s with the aim of replacing the Granton train ferry, however his involvement was brought to a halt when another bridge designed by him, the Tay Bridge, collapsed in a storm killing over 70 people.

John Fowler and Benjamin Baker where enlisted to come up with a new cantilever design, strong enough to withstand gale force winds and the weight of heavy freight trains while allowing large ships to sail underneath. See below a great photo of Benjamin Baker's human cantilever bridge model illustrating the principles of the Forth Bridge. 

Work began in February 1883 and cost around £3 million to construct (about £300m today) with the costs being split between several rival railway companies.

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Now transporting around 200 trains per day the bridge is a magnet for photographers and a symbol of Scotland.  It has found itself featured in media as diverse as Hitchcock’s film ‘The 39 Steps’, advertising Irn-Bru (remember the slogan ‘Made in Scotland, from girders’?) and more recently recreated in the video game 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas'.

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Views from the top of the Forth Bridge. Photo by Paul Motion.

Thank you to Wikipedia for the Postcard of Benjamin Baker's human cantilever bridge model.


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