Illustrated glossary

Forth Bridge World Heritage Site





That part of a pier from which an arch springs, sustaining one end of a bridge span and at the same time supporting the embankment which carries the track or roadway.

Anchor span

In a bridge consisting of a series of cantilevers, the span that separates two cantilever arms of other spans is termed an "anchor span." The longer Inchgarvie Tower serves this purpose at the Forth Bridge.


Aspects of a property which are associated with or express the Outstanding Universal Value. Attributes can be tangible or intangible.


Those characteristics that most truthfully reflect and embody the cultural heritage values of a place, rooted in its specific cultural context.



Something that supports weight at the end of an arch or beam that rests on a support. A bearing shoe is a device that supports, guides, and reduces the friction of motion between fixed and moving parts.

Bridgehead zone

Area comprising the three major crossings of the Forth, the shore, adjacent towns and landscape up to the escarpment and higher ground that forms the springing points of those bridges. Distinct from the wider setting.

Buckie (Scots)

Shelter for workforce on the Forth Bridge, or a whelk in Scots. From the latin buccinum for horn-shaped shellfish, so suiting a small hard shelter clinging to a larger thing.



A watertight casing used in founding and building structures in water that is too deep for cofferdams.

Cable-stayed bridge

Bridge having the roadway supported by angled cables anchored directly to a tower or towers, without vertical suspension. See Queensferry Crossing.


A structure at least one portion of which acts as an anchorage for sustaining another portion which projects beyond the supporting pier. (c. RCAHMS)


Civil Asset Register and electronic Reporting System - a work flow system which holds records in a common format allowing Network Rail to schedule and receive updates of examination reports that will generate work.

Cast iron

Iron whose shape is produced by pouring liquid metal into moulds. Strong in compression, as an arch or pillar, and can be made decorative. (photo of Ballantyne’s Foundry, Bo’ness)


A watertight enclosure pumped dry of water to allow construction work to take place below the waterline, as when building dams and bridges. (picture shows Queensferry Crossing at Beamer Rock, 2013)


Action to manage change that secures the cultural significance of buildings, artefacts, natural resources or anything of acknowledged value to the future.

Conservation area

Area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.

Contact point

Location of something (walkway, scaffolding, wiring etc) that impeded full adhesion of the new paint system on the Forth Bridge and therefore requires to be locally touched up, as indicated in the maintenance plan.



Concept of a building or artefact. It can exist as an abstract in the mind, on paper or it can be represented in the building or artefact if realised. (fig, contract drawing for the Forth Bridge, Private Collection)



Physical material of which a building or artefact is made.                                                                         



A measure of the wholeness and intactness of the natural and/or cultural heritage and its attributes.


Any action which has a physical effect on the fabric of a building or artefact.


Listed building

Building of special architectural or historic interest that has been afforded legal protection.



The periodic inspection and care of the fabric of an object, with routine attention and cyclical replacement of parts to defects as they occur.


Activities appropriate for maintaining a place and the coordination of the various actions and stakeholders that this requires.

Mild steel

A refined alloy of iron and less than 0.3% carbon - cheap and malleable, used in construction and manufacturing without further special treatment.


North Queensferry

Village in Fife within Inverkeithing Parish.                                                                                                                                 


Open-hearth steel

Metal formed of pig iron, iron or steel scrap, which is converted into steel by the direct action of an oxidizing flame in a regenerative gas furnace. Also “Acid Open-Hearth”. (Here in Nizhny Tagil, Russia,)

Outstanding Universal Value

Cultural and/or natural significance so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.



Action to keep “as found” a building or artefact, whether by historical accident or through a combination of protection and active conservation.


The provision of legal restraints or controls on the destruction or damaging of buildings … sites, areas or other things of acknowledged value, with a view to their survival for the future.

The property

The nominated site: the place, area of land or sea that has Outstanding Universal Value.


Greek term for a monumental gateway of an Egyptian temple consisting either of one or two quadrilateral masonry masses with sloping sides pierced by a doorway. Or a steel tower carrying high-tension cables.



Burgh in City of Edinburgh, formerly West Lothian County, also commonly known as South Queensferry.


Ramsar site

Wetland designated under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, signed in Iran in 1971.


Re-establishment of what existed in the past, on the basis of documentary or physical evidence.


The description, depiction and analysis of a place using drawings, survey, photographs and any other suitable means as well as the preservation of documents, photographs and other material relating to the place in its present or earlier condition.


Work beyond the scope of regular maintenance to remedy defects, significant decay or damage caused deliberately or by accident, neglect, normal weathering or wear and tear, the object of which is to return the building or artefact to good order, without alteration or restoration.


Alteration of a building or artefact which has decayed, been lost or damaged, or is thought to have been inappropriately repaired or altered in the past, the objective of which is to make it conform again to its design or appearance at a previous date. (photo of New Lanark Mill 1, upper storeys removed in 1945, restored in 1998)


Work to a building, part of a building or artefact carried out in such a way that it can be reversed at some future time, without any significant damage having been done.


Rod of metal used to splice together sheets of wrought iron or steel by heat and hammers while hot via pre-bored or drilled holes.



More than the immediate surroundings of a site or building, how it fits into the landscape or townscape, intentionally or not, the view from it and how it is seen from areas round about, or areas that are important to the protection of the place, site or building.


The sum of the cultural and/or natural values of a place, often set out in a statement of significance.


The intersection of the tubular struts at the base of the cantilevers.                                                                       


The prevention of on-going degradation by removal of, or protection from, adverse conditions.


Capable of meeting present needs without compromising the ability to meet future needs.

Suspended span

A span connecting two cantilever arms and supported wholly thereby.                                                                   

Suspension bridge

A roadway suspended from towers by chain or wire cables, securely attached to abutments.                                       


Providing structural adequacy.                                                                                                                     


Wrought iron

A mixture of iron and slags produced by direct reduction in a charcoal furnace or by puddling in a reverbatory furnace, then rolled. Strong in tension, as in a girder, and has a laminated structure. (Here on the Tay Bridge, 2013)


Sources: British Standard BS7913; National Historic Ironwork Group; ICOMOS
Chapter LXXX of J.A.L. Waddell's Bridge Engineering (New York: Wiley, 1916)