Forth Bridge Memorial backed to mark restoration completion

Network Rail and principal contractor, Balfour Beatty have backed a community plan to remember the men who lost their lives building the Forth Bridge as part of an event to celebrate the recent completion of a 10 year restoration project.

The twin memorials, in prominent public locations in North and South Queensferry, will also pay tribute to the thousands of ‘Briggers’ who contributed to building, maintaining and restoring the structure in the 129 years since construction began.

Both memorials will consist of a 7ft upright bronze section built into a stone base. The upright will bear the names, ages and occupations of all the men who died during construction, the base will be engraved with the words: “To the Briggers, past and present, who built, restored and continue to maintain this iconic structure.”

The concept for the memorials was devised by a dedicated team of local historians and enthusiasts. Over the last seven years, they have researched the subject matter, rallied local support and raised funds for the concept. Network Rail and Balfour Beatty became principal sponsors to acknowledge the support of the communities north and south of the bridge and to recognise the dedication of the men and women who have worked on the structure during the past 10 years.

The monuments were designed by local artist Gordon Muir and will be cast by Powderhall Bronze Ltd, Fine Art Founders, in Leith. The stone for the base has been sourced from Cumbria. The project will be managed by South Queensferry firm The Paul Hogarth Company and the Forth Bridge Memorial Committee team. Installation will be carried out with the assistance of Network Rail and Balfour Beatty.

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The two memorials will be unveiled at an event attended by First Minister Alex Salmond on Friday 18 May.

David Simpson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, said: “The work which has been undertaken by the team on the Forth Bridge over the last decade has been completed to exacting standards and produced results which have been recognised across Britain, Europe and the rest of the world.

“We are enormously proud of our modern day ‘Briggers’ but we acknowledge that we would never have been there were it not for the hard graft and sacrifice made by all those who went before us. For that reason, it made perfect sense to us to celebrate our modern day achievement by supporting this community driven memorial which will stand side by side with the bridge for many years to come.”

Marshall Scott, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering, commented: “It has been a privilege for Balfour Beatty to have undertaken the restoration of the Forth Bridge during the last ten years.

“The extensive works required to return the bridge back to its original condition will remain as a testament to the skills of the workforce that undertook the restoration works and to those that constructed the bridge over a century ago”.

Len Saunders, of the Forth Bridge Memorial Committee, added: “We are immensely pleased that Network Rail has chosen to celebrate the completion of the decade long bridge restoration in such a fitting way. And that the support of Network Rail and Balfour Beatty, together with our many other sponsors will result in a fine public memorial to “The Briggers.”