UNESCO plaque unveiled for the Forth Bridge

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As we draw closer to the opening of the Queensferry Crossing, Transport Minister Humza Yousaf unveiled a plaque to commemorate the awarding of World Heritage Status to the Forth Bridge – the first of the three bridges which spans three centuries of history across the Firth of Forth.

Construction of the Forth Bridge began in 1882 and was completed in 1890. 125 years later, in July 2015, the Bridge was awarded World Heritage status, confirming this historic structure’s well-deserved iconic status and providing international recognition to a masterpiece of engineering. The unveiling of the plaque recognises this honour at a time when the people of Scotland are about to welcome the Queensferry Crossing and reflect on the rich history of the Forth Bridges.

The task of overseeing the maintenance of Scotland’s newest World Heritage Site falls to the Forth Bridges Forum, whose members include bridge owners Network Rail, Historic Environment Scotland, Transport Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, Fife Council and Visit Scotland. Through the Forum, they share a collective responsibility to protect and monitor the ‘outstanding universal value’ of the Bridge, and to promote it to as wide an audience as possible, both in Scotland and across the world.

Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf said:

“The unveiling of this plaque is a small gesture to recognise the hard work of all those involved in obtaining UNESCO World Heritage status for the Forth Bridge and to celebrate the workers who constructed and continue to maintain the bridge.”

“The Three Bridges are more than crossings. They are connections to our past, and with the opening of the Queensferry Crossing next week, they send a powerful message about our ambitions for the future. As much as this is a moment to reflect on the incredible history of the Forth Bridges, it’s also about welcoming a new era and a new destination to enjoy. I encourage as many people as possible to come and enjoy the fantastic views across the Forth.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

“The Forth Bridge is one of the world’s most instantly recognisable bridges and a true marvel of Scottish engineering. It was fantastic to see it awarded World Heritage Status and this plaque is an excellent commemoration for all the hard work put in to achieve this. It is particularly pleasing that this historically significant attraction is being recognised as we celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.  From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends - the yearlong programme is shining a spotlight on some of Scotland’s greatest assets as well as our hidden gems.” 

Dr Miles Oglethorpe of Historic Environment Scotland said:

“Working with our partners in the Forth Bridges Forum to win the World Heritage listing was an amazing experience, and it’s fitting we’re able to commemorate this achievement with the first of a number of plaques in the vicinity of the bridge. We were delighted to receive our specially designed World Heritage logo from UNESCO, and it was fantastic to see it transformed into beautiful plaques by Beltane Studios in Peebles.

“Many World Heritage Sites are spectacular but ruinous.  However, The Forth Bridge is of course totally intact, and better still, continuing to perform the function for which it was originally built. And of course, in addition to the Forth Road Bridge, built in 1964, we’ll also have the opening of the new, second road bridge, giving us three extraordinary pieces of functioning civil engineering on this scale, together, spanning three different centuries.”