Old Images of the Forth Bridge at Queensferry

1930s dunlop calendar picture of Flying Scotsman and Forth Rail Bridge

Enjoy a glimpse of history through old images of the Forth Rail Bridge at Queensferry, Scotland.


In the distant past, Queensferry had the Gaelic name of Taobh a Deas Chas Chaolais or Chas Chaolais, meaning the Steep Strait, clearly taken directly from the geography of the area. The English name refers instead to a vital transport system established here a thousand years ago.

Before the building of the bridges across the Firth of Forth, all traffic had to either take a lengthy detour round the waters, or cross by ferry.

Tradition says that Saint Margaret of Scotland established a ferry here for the pilgrims heading north to St Andrews. Indeed, after her death in 1093, the ferry was used to transport her body on its journey to Dunfermline Abbey. Then the ferry rights were awarded to the abbey by her son, David I of Scotland.

The Forth Bridge is a cantilever bridge. Its construction began in 1882, and it was opened to rail traffic on 4th March 1890.

In 1964, the nearby Forth Road Bridge opened, allowing road traffic to cross the Firth of Forth.

Because of the second bridge, the Forth Bridge is often now referred to as the Forth Rail Bridge, although that was never its official name.


Construction of the Forth Rail Bridge

The archives at the National Library of Scotland hold several important visual records showing the construction of this world famous bridge in the 1880s.

The first is an artist’s impression of the bridge yet to be started, imposing a drawing onto a photograph of the Firth of Forth. This is a full century before the invention of Photoshop!

Next we see the early stages of construction underway.

We’re now so used to this iconic bridge, it can be hard to imagine how its enormous scale and towering height must have awed and amazed local residents and curious visitors.


The Forth Bridge Through Time

Enioy a video from YouTube channel The Time Travel Artist. James used old images to transform the Firth of Forth through time.

The Forth Bridge: A Journey through time.  The Time Travel Artist (YouTube)


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