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The Fall of the Tay Bridge

History, Scottish Local History Offer
Publication Date
20 October 2016
Paperback (also available as an ebook)
Available for Sale
Birlinn Ltd
b/w photographs, maps and diagrams throughout

The Fall of the Tay Bridge

by David Swinfen - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore

It took 600 men six years to build and was one of the longest bridges in the world. On its completion in 1878, famous visitors, including the Emperor of Brazil, Prince Leopold of the Belgians and Queen Victoria herself, came to pay homage to this marvel of Victorian engineering. Then, on the night of 28 December 1879, the unthinkable happened. Battered by an apocalyptic storm, the thirteen ‘high girders’ of the rail bridge over the Tay estuary fell headlong into the river below, carrying with them a train and all its passengers and crew. There were no survivors.

What caused the fall of the Tay Bridge, and who was really to blame? Returning to the subject since the first edition of The Fall of the Tay Bridge in 1994, David Swinfen has meticulously analysed new evidence and now presents a solution to the riddle which has perplexed historians and engineers for generations: what really brought the bridge down?

David Swinfen was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, and has lived in Scotland most of his life. He has written many books and articles on Commonwealth, American and Scottish history. Currently chairman of the Tay Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust, he lives in Broughty Ferry with his wife Ann, the historical novelist.