A NEW book has been produced on the men who brought one of Scotland"s most iconic structures into being.
'The Briggers: The Story of the Men Who Built the Forth Bridge', by Elspeth Wills, recounts the extraordinary human story of those involved in its construction, with names and stunning images literally revealing some of the faces behind the bridge.
Research for the book was carried out by Frank Hay, Jenni Meldrum, Len Saunders and Jim Walker, of the Queensferry History Group, who drew on sources such as the Dunfermline Journal for their work.
Edinburgh-based Elspeth (61), who has written several history-related books, was approached to put the material together.
She said, 'Although I"m a historian, I can"t claim any credit for the idea, but I was delighted to be approached, partly because I had enjoyed working with the team in the past.
'I had an interest in it as well, and it was the very simple question of what the men"s lives were like, from what they ate to where they went to the loo!
'If you read the papers" reports on the deaths, you get the feel for them, 150 feet above the platform, and somebody could drop a tool on you, or or you could find out that oh, he was a father of six, or he had just been married three weeks.' The book offers fascinating nuggets of information on how the men lived and worked, ranging from their accommodation and problems with drink, to public affrays in Dunfermline and local scandals.
Particularly poignant are the hardships they suffered, with men crushed to death, dying in fires and succumbing to the much misunderstood 'caisson disease'.
Hundreds were crippled for life, with fingers, eyes and toes lost in daily accidents, and 73 died as a direct result of working on the bridge.
Two young briggers, rivet catchers David Clark and Thomas Shannon, were just 13 and 14 respectively when they fell to their deaths.
A sizable number of injuries and deaths also arose from building the railway approach between North Queensferry and Inverkeithing.
Elspeth stressed that the briggers" story did not end with the publication of the book - particularly as the Forth Bridge Memorial Arts Trust plans to erect a fitting tribute to those who had lost their lives.
She said, 'It"s an amazing story and as an author it"s been a joy making the whole story accessible to the public.' She also hopes the book will reveal new sources.
She said, 'It"s an ongoing project and since publishing the book we have found two people who had ancestors who worked on the bridge, one woman from Limekilns and another from the States.
'We would like to have people come forward - although the book is about the people who built the bridge, we are also interested to find people who worked on the maintenance of the bridge in the early 20th century.'