The wide estuary of the river Tay on the east coast of Scotland presented a formidable obstacle to transport. The first bridge over the estuary was designed by Thomas Bouch for the North British Railway Company. It was almost 2 miles long and was completed in 1877. Queen Victoria crossed it in the summer of 1879, and knighted its designer on the spot. But at the end of that year, on 28 December 1879, several spans collapsed in a severe storm while a train was crossing, sending 74 people to their deaths. The subsequent inquiry concluded that the bridge was ‘badly designed, badly constructed and badly maintained’. A new road bridge was opened over the estuary in 1966.
Subjects: British History.