Forth Bridge awarded Unesco World Heritage status

The iconic Forth Bridge is the sixth World Heritage Site in Scotland. Picture: Allan Crow

The iconic Forth Bridge is the sixth World Heritage Site in Scotland. Picture: Allan Crow

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THE FORTH Bridge has been awarded Unesco World Heritage status, the 125-year-old construction spanning the Firth of Forth becoming Scotland’s sixth World Heritage Site.

It joins Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, New Lanark, the Antonine Wall and St Kilda.

The view from the top. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The view from the top. Picture: Ian Rutherford

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the designation recognises the bridge’s “unique” place in Scotland’s history, and she congratulated everyone involved in the bid.

She said: “The Forth Bridge is a monument to innovative industry and engineering. Its double-cantilever towers, with their powerful yet graceful design, are recognised the world over.

“The Forth Bridge is an outstanding example of Scotland’s built heritage and its endurance is testament not only to the ingenuity of those who designed and built it but also to the painters, engineers and maintenance crews who have looked after it through the years.”

More than 4,500 men were employed in the construction of the Network Rail-owned bridge, which took eight years to complete and used 53,000 tonnes of steel.

Its towers are recognised the world over

Nicola Sturgeon

The bid for World Heritage status was led by the Forth Bridges Forum, established by the Scottish Government to promote the three Forth bridges.

David Dickson, director of infrastructure at Network Rail, said: “The Forth Bridge is a prime example of civil engineering and an iconic structure, not only in Scotland but across the world.

“The awarding of the inscription is the culmination of a great deal of planning from a wide range of organisations and a testament to the hard work and dedication of those who built and continue to maintain the bridge.”

The decision to grant the bridge special status followed a meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn today.

The committee described the construction as “innovative in style, materials and scale” and an important milestone in bridge design.

UK heritage minister Tracey Crouch said: “Recognition as a World Heritage Site will draw more tourists to the area as well as making sure one of the UK’s great engineering feats stands for future generations.

“The Forth Bridge is an important part of Britain’s shared national heritage, which is why the UK government put it forward as our nomination for World Heritage Site status last year.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell, said: “Being recognised as a World Heritage Site is a fitting accolade for this bridge which has played such an important part in the lives of Scots for 125 years.

“The Forth Bridge joins an impressive list – including the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall of China plus, closer to home, New Lanark and St Kilda -–which have secured the prestigious World Heritage status.”