North Queensferry could be put even more on the global map with the announcement that the Forth Bridge is to be put forward to UNESCO to consider making it a World Heritage Site.
The nomination of the engineering icon will be submitted to the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for a decision at the 2015 meeting.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “The Forth Bridge is a Scottish icon that is recognised the world over. We are extremely excited that we have the opportunity to make the case for the Bridge being inscribed as Scotland’s sixth World Heritage Site.
“To have the Bridge inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site would be a tremendous accolade for the Bridge itself, for the local communities and for Scotland. This nomination has the potential to be a celebration of our country’s incredible engineering ingenuity and pedigree and I wish the team working on it all the best.”
The nomination will be overseen by the Forth Bridges Forum, which includes representatives from Historic Scotland, bridge owners Network Rail, Transport Scotland, the Forth Estuary Transport Authority, Fife Council and City of Edinburgh Council.
If successful, the rail bridge would be the sixth World Heritage Site in Scotland – The Heart of Neolithic Orkney, The Antonine Wall (part of the transnational Frontiers of the Roman Empire WHS), the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, St Kilda and New Lanark.
The Forth Bridge is the world’s first large-scale steel cantilever bridge. It is 2.5km (1.5 miles) long and comprises two girder spans of 521 metre (1,710ft) made up of three 105 metre (351 ft) high double-cantilevers, with a long approach viaduct on tall granite-faced piers at its South end.
Work on the Bridge was commenced in 1882 and formally completed on March 4, 1890 by HRH Edward Prince of Wales. The bridge used 54,000 tonnes of steel and an estimated 6,500,000 rivets. Its total cost was £3,200, 000 (equivalent to around £235 million today).
One of the more unusual people who worked on the construction of the Forth Bridge was Japanese engineer Kaichi Watanabe, who had studied under the Scottish engineer, Henry Dyer, in the Faculty of Technology of the University of Tokyo.
He later studied at the University of Glasgow and then worked as a construction foreman on the Forth Bridge. He is famous for appearing in a photograph as the central part of a ‘human cantilever’ demonstrating the engineering principles of the bridge. This photograph can now be seen under the ‘20’ on the Bank of Scotland £20 note.
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