Cartoon man resting on the Forth bridge having a high old time


by Charles Paxton.

The world-famous Forth Bridge near Edinburgh has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2015 and Wildopeneye blog feels that this remarkable and distinctive structure definitely warrants inclusion in our Creative Scotland series of blog articles to celebrate!

Some facts from the dedicated UNESCO Forth Bridge webpage:

It opened in 1890 and still carries passengers and freight across the Firth of Forth bridging the estuary between Fife and Edinburgh. It was sponsored by the North British Railway (NBR)

It is about 2529 meters long (8296 ft) and incorporates about 55,000 tons of mild steel and 140,000 cubic yards of masonry. It has a distinctive form instantly recognizable by all who’ve seen it. It was the first major steel structure built in Britain and took about 8 years to complete representing one of the world’s greatest feats of engineering and costing over 70 human lives.

Its cantilevered towers stand 110m above the granite and concrete piers that support them and the structure is painted red.

The Forth Bridge

It is what it is, one of the most inspiring projects in the history of civil engineering. This iconic bridge is celebrated by UNESCO. ” This enormous structure, with its distinctive industrial aesthetic and striking red colour, was conceived and built using advanced civil engineering design principles and construction methods. Innovative in design, materials, and scale, the Forth Bridge is an extraordinary and impressive milestone in bridge design and construction during the period when railways came to dominate long-distance land travel.” Source UNESCO

It is said that this bridge is so large that no sooner has it been painted end to end with one coat, it is time to start painting it over again, though the maintenance effort required is endless, the wear on the paint isn’t even and some parts require more frequent attention than others. It is wonderful that this bridge will be forever protected.

This amazing structure is celebrated and thoroughly explored in his most recent book by my uncle Roland.  Forth Bridge Restoring an icon published for Network Rail and Balfour Beatty in 2012.  View on Amazon

Also, The Forth Bridge Nomination for Inclusion in the World Heritage List. Nomination Document published by Historic Scotland 2014. Professor Paxton had a TV crew from TBS Japan visit him two months ago and his friend Hiroshi Isohata Professor at Nihon University has just corrected the Japanese dialogue for the TBS documentary programme , The World Heritage broadcast Sunday 8th November 2015 6pm – 6:30pm on TBS (in Japan only) See for more info.

An earlier work published by the Institution of Civil Engineers in hard cover, entitled “100 years of the Forth Bridge” by Roland Paxton, is available from

and from

Congratulations to all those who have had a hand in building and maintaining this amazing structure.

All photos here are copyright and provided courtesy of Professor Roland A Paxton MBE MSc PhD HonDEng CEng FICE FRSE. Institute for Infrastructure and Environment School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society Heriot-Watt University.

C. Paxton was not paid in any form for this article.