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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Date Added: 21/03/2001


  • Local Authority: Edinburgh
  • Planning Authority: Edinburgh
  • Burgh: Edinburgh

National Grid Reference

  • NGR: NT 12535 79638
  • Coordinates: 312535, 679638


Consulting Engineers, Mott, Hay and Anderson in association with Freeman Fox & Partners; commissioned 1947; constructed 1958-64. Suspension road bridge over Forth Estuary. Twin suspension towers; main span 1006m with equal side spans of 408m (total 1822m); approach viaducts at either end supported on paired piers (10 pairs to S, 6 pairs to N), each joined at head by round arch; main deck and suspension towers of steel; approach viaducts steel box girder with concrete deck and concrete piers; suspension towers comprise twin legs (each 150m tall) connected by lattice bracing supporting cable saddles. Main cables anchored in rock below approach viaducts in concrete anchor chambers with Corennie granite transferred aggregate facing. Vertical suspender cables support main deck of bridge. Deck, containing two carriageways and flanking pedestrian cycle/pathways cantilevered out on either side (E and W); suspended deck supported by steel stiffening lattice truss. Granite transferred aggregate facing to bases of approach piers.

Statement of Special Interest

A landmark building in post-war Scotland, particularly given its location next to the famous rail bridge of 1882-90 (and as a continuation of the tradition of innovative Scottish engineering feats exemplified by the latter). In international terms it was the first spun-cable suspension bridge to challenge American designs of the period. It has an elegance deriving from the lightweight appearance of its slender construction components (American Designs of around this date eg Mackinac Bridge of 1957 and Verrazano Narrows Bridge of 1963 were far more solid and heavier in appearance). When it was completed in 1964 it was the longest suspension bridge outside the USA and the fourth longest in the world (it has a total span of 2828m). The engineers Freeman, Fox and Partners were also responsible for 3 comparable large scale suspension bridges in the UK: the Severn Bridge (1961-66), the Erskine Bridge (1967-71) and the Humber Bridge (completed 1981). Of these the Humber Bridge has the longest main span: 1410 metres, making it the longest in the world when it was built. The Forth Road Bridge and the Severn Bridge have main spans of 1006 and 988 metres respectively. The Forth Road Bridge however stands out as the earliest of all of them. Although the project was commissioned (and the Forth Road Bridge Joint Board set up) in 1947, Treasury Authority was not given until 1958 and it was in that year that construction began. The contractors were the ACD Bridge Company, a consortium comprising 3 separate firms which was set up specially to undertake construction of the Forth Road Bridge. The firms were: Sir William Arrol and Company Ltd, The Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company and Dorman Long Ltd. Situated just to the S of the S approach is the administration building, by Giles Gilbert Scott, Son and Partners.



Plans may be viewed at National Archives, West Register House; 'The Forth Road Bridge' in THE BUILDER, 4 September 1964; Forth Road Bridge Joint Board, FORTH ROAD BRIDGE (undated, circa 1964); C McWilliam, LOTHIAN in the 'Buildings of Scotland' series (1978; this edition 1980) pp437-38; Moubray House Press and the Forth Road Bridge Joint Board, SILVER HIGHWAY -THE STORY OF THE FORTH ROAD BRIDGE (1989); notes courtesy of DOCOMOMO (1999).

About Designations

Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 24/10/2016 21:07